A Big Win for Reproductive Freedom: Generic EC for All

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On February 27, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) helped overcome a longstanding hurdle to reproductive freedom byruling that generic versions of the morning-after pill – not just the not-generically-priced Plan B One-Step® – “can be sold on store shelves without restriction.”

From now on, anyone seeking emergency contraception will be able to find generic, non-brand name products on the shelf instead, without needing to consult a pharmacist. Because generic EC is cheaper than Plan B, this is good news for young women and low-income women. What’s more is that women seeking these products will not need to show proof of age in order to purchase it. The labels will state that its use is intended for women 17 years of age or older, but beyond that, there are no restrictions to keep young women from buying it.

Read more.

This means that in the very near future, people seeking generic emergency contraception, which tends to cost $7 less on average than the brand name product, will be able to get it directly off the shelf instead of from a pharmacist. Moving generic products to the shelf will also hopefully result in market competition that will drive down the price of EC overall. MORE HERE

Walmart on Iowa, Lawrence

Another #ecotc in Lawrence! Walmart on Iowa (3300 Iowa St) has Plan B One-Step, though sadly in an individual locked box. When we first tried to find it, we got somewhat confused. There’s a section labeled family planning, but it was full of Ensure. The Plan B One-Step is on the first shelf past the pharmacy, next to the pregnancy tests, condoms, and lube. $49.97.

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The shame and stigma around emergency contraception, and all reproductive health care for that matter, all too often deter those who need reproductive care the most from accessing it.

My first piece at RH Reality Check explores the implications of Plan B One-Step’s new over-the-counter status. 

No Plan B: Why Is the Indian Health Service Denying Native American Women Access to Emergency Contraception?

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Written by Sofia Resnick for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

Published in partnership with the American Independent.

"No, ma’am," says the pharmacy tech over the phone at the Choctaw Nation’s health clinic in Hugo, Okla., when I ask if the clinic carries emergency contraception.

At the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Health Services clinic in Dowagiac, Mich., the pharmacy tech who answers the phone tells me the clinic does not carry Plan B or any other emergency contraceptive that can prevent pregnancy up to 72 hours following unprotected sex, failed contraception, or sexual assault. And no, she doesn’t know the nearest place to get any.  

The person filling in at the Black Hawk Health Center in Stroud, Okla., after checking with staff, tells me the clinic does not carry any emergency contraceptive. He suggests trying Stroud Drug or the Walgreens or CVS in Edmond, about an hour drive from Stroud. I could also try the Walmart in Shawnee, he says.

I learn from the Citizen Potawatomi Nation tribal clinic in Shawnee that it does not carry emergency contraception either; though again, I’m referred to Walgreens, CVS, and Walmart.

Were I a Native American woman — which I’m not — I would have less incentive to go to a retail pharmacy like one at Walmart or CVS. Because at a pharmacy affiliated with the Indian Health Service — a federal agency that provides health services for American Indians and Alaska Natives — emergency contraception, like most medication, would be free. And even if I did have the fifty or so dollars it might cost for the so-called “morning-after pill,” I might not have a way to get to a retail pharmacy, if I don’t have a car or if I live on an isolated reservation.  

About a month ago, I reproduced an informal phone survey originally conducted last September by the Native American Women’s Health Education Resource Center, based in Lake Andes, South Dakota. I called the same 63 centers (though I was not able to reach every one), all funded by IHS, asking the questions asked in the original survey: Does your pharmacy carry Plan B or another emergency contraceptive? And is it offered over the counter? I did not identify myself as a reporter.

Though some of the pharmacies contacted in that original survey, and in my own reproduction, said they offered emergency contraception over the counter, more often pharmacy techs or pharmacists said that either their clinics offered the drug by prescription-only, or not at all. In all, the NAWHERC study found that only 11 percent of the pharmacies surveyed carried emergency contraception over the counter, about half carried emergency contraception but required a prescription and a doctor’s visit, and about 43 percent of the pharmacies contacted did not carry Plan B at all.

Read the rest here.

Walgreens on 6th, Lawrence

Our first #ecotc find! Walgreens on 6th in Lawrence (3421 W 6th St) has Plan B One-Step in the family planning aisle (to the left when you enter the store) for $49.99. Unfortunately it’s in a locked individual case.

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