Despite support from FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg, the federal government has shot down a request from the manufacturers of Plan-B One Step to make the pill available as an unrestricted over-the-counter contraceptive, reported in this article from the Huffington Post. The change would have meant that girls of any age could purchase the drug without a prescription, just like condoms or spermicide. Health and Human Services decided today, however, to keep the current rules in place: You have to ask the pharmacist for the medication, and girls under 17 need a prescription to do so.
Advocates for either side present some strong arguments. Those who want to make the pill more accessible argue that it should be an option for any girl of child-bearing age as a tenet of basic health care. Opponents say there’s high potential for misuse, and that making the drug so readily available could encourage teens to become lax in sexual responsibility. Plus, the doctors appointments required for girls under 17 could help “screen for sexual exploitation.”
What do you think? Should Plan B be an over-the-counter drug? How is young is too young to purchase it?