The US government on Tuesday lowered to 15 years the age at which girls can buy the morning-after pill without a prescription and said the emergency contraception no longer has to be kept behind pharmacy counters. The decision by the Food and Drug Administration is an attempt to find middle ground just days before a court-imposed deadline to lift all age restrictions on the drug.
Presently,Plan B One-Step is sold behind pharmacy counters,and buyers must prove theyre 17 or older to buy it without a prescription. Tuesdays decision lowers the age limit to 15 and will allow the pill to sit on drugstore shelves next to condoms and spermicides or other womens health products. But customers must prove their age at the cash register.
Teva Womens Health,which makes Plan B,said it would begin over-the-counter sales in a few months.
The question is whether Tuesdays action settles a larger court fight. Earlier this month,US District Judge Edward Korman of New York blasted the Obama administration for imposing the age-17 limit. He ordered an end to all age restrictions by Monday,for Plan B and its generic versions. The FDA said Tuesdays decision was independent of the court case.