FDA Debates Over-The-Counter Morning-After Pill

December 7, 2011 - 3:10 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government is considering whether it's OK for young teenagers to buy emergency contraception without a prescription.

Teva Pharmaceuticals wants its Plan B morning-after pill to become the first truly over-the-counter form of emergency contraception. The pill can prevent pregnancy if taken soon after unprotected sex. Currently, women 17 and older can buy it without a prescription if they show a pharmacist proof of age. Younger teens need a prescription.

Doctors' and women's health groups have long argued that the pill is safe even for younger teens and that lifting the age restriction would increase access for everyone. If the Food and Drug Administration agrees, Plan B One-Step could be moved from behind the counter to sell on drugstore shelves. Teva was expecting a decision on Wednesday.