The Obama administration dropped its long-standing opposition to over-the-counter sales of a controversial morning-after pill Monday and decided to permit consumers of any age to buy Plan B One-Step without a prescription.
In papers filed in federal court in New York, government attorneys announced that the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services would remove age and point of sale restrictions on the emergency contraceptive, pending approval by U.S. District Judge Edward Korman.
The decision would not apply to similar brands of emergency contraceptives, or to a two-pill version of the same drug, which is manufactured by the Israel-based pharmaceutical firm Teva. Loretta Lynch, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, wrote in the court papers that other manufacturers could submit approval applications, but the FDA might grant Teva “marketing exclusivity.”
The limited nature of the government’s proposal could be an issue for Korman, who has ordered that all such drugs be available over the counter like aspirin. If he approves it, however, the government said it would drop its appeal of an order he issued in April.
The drugs have prompted a long-running legal battle between two White House administrations and reproductive rights advocates, who contend that the government unnecessarily restricts access to birth control. Last week, a federal appeals court refused, in part, to grant the government’s request to block the sale of all levonorgestrel-based emergency contraceptives without restriction.
Read more: LAtimes.com