Printer Friendly

The morning after: pharmacies and medical freedom. (Citing).

MAKERS OF PLAN B, one of the two brands of "morning after" pills-high-dose birth control pills that are only effective within 72 hours of unprotected sex-are planning to petition the FDA for over-the-counter status. Such a move would make the drug much more useful: It's most effective within 12 hours of a slip-up, so having to get it directly from a doctor is practically prohibitive.

Already, four states allow doctors to give pharmacists standing prescriptions to dispense the pills. California is one, but a recent Los Angeles Times piece suggests that well-meaning guardians of women's health are out to make buying the drug more burdensome than "over-the-counter" would imply.

One of the benefits of selling pills without a prescription is financial; a woman without insurance wouldn't have to pay for a doctor's visit to protect herself against pregnancy. But California pharmacists have been tacking a $20 to $40 "consulting fee" onto the drug's $25 price for women without prescriptions. They say it's to pay for the 15 to 20 minutes they spend questioning a patient before doling out the drug.

Many pharmacists are also asking women to fill out a one-page questionnaire that asks about sexually transmitted diseases, among other things. It was developed by a group that seeks to make pharmacies more active in promoting community health.

"It was not the intent of the law to make pharmacists into public health officials," Shannon Smith-Crowley, a lobbyist for the California Medical Association, told the Times in May. "What information do they really need to gather?"

At this point, it's unclear whether FDA approval would factor both the pharmacist and the doctor out of the purchase. The agency often adds restrictions to over-the-counter sales.

"We are hoping that it will just be on the shelf, next to the condoms," says a spokeswoman for Women's Capital Corporation, Plan B's distributor. "But it will ultimately depend on decisions made with the FDA during the 10-month application process."
COPYRIGHT 2003 Reason Foundation
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2003, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Rimensnyder, Sara
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2003
Previous Article:Bad ad: peanuts, candy, heroin. (Citing).
Next Article:Reporters sans entree: Dept. of Homeland Scrutiny. (Citing).

Related Articles
How can pharmacies improve access to emergency contraception? (Viewpoint).
Pharmacy data for tuberculosis surveillance and assessment of patient management.
Pharmacists should follow medical ethics.
Faith-based pharmacies?: religious right backs prescription exemptions.
Quebec schoolgirls to access abortifacient.
Prescriptions denied: pharmacy refusal clauses have become the latest battleground in the provision of safe and legal medical services.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2021 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters |