Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Emergency Contraception Updates

Three Massachusetts women have filed suit against Wal-Mart for its refusal to carry the emergency contraceptive drug, Plan B. The radio show Marketplace covered this tonight, and you can listen to the story from the website. Wal-Mart has refused to carry Plan B in any of its pharmacies (AlterNet covered this in June 2005), although it now stocks the drug in Indiana stores, where it is required to by law that pharmacies stocking birth control also dispense emergency contraception. The current lawsuit alleges that by refusing to stock & dispense Plan B, Wal-Mart is violating the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act. If you'd like to send a comment to Wal-Mart on their policy regarding EC, you can contact them using this form.
Note: if the Globe site asks you to register, you can find a login at BugMeNot

From the Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Reports:
The American Center for Law and Justice filed suit against Walgreens on behalf of 4 Indiana pharmacists fired for refusing to fill Plan B prescriptions.

A Target pharmacist filed an EEOC complaint, claiming she was fired for saying she would not fill emergency contraception prescriptions

Three bills have been introduced into the Illinois legislature that would allow pharmacists to refuse to fill EC prescriptions. Text of the bills is available here (HB4230), here(HB4246), and here (HB4346).

No news has come out of the FDA on the issue of over the counter access to Plan B. On August 26, 2005, FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford announced that public comments on several issues related to OTC status would be accepted, and that "I am committed to expediting this rule-making process, and in order to do so, I have ordered a 60-day comment period instead of the usual 90 to 120 day comment period. FDA will process and post the comments as they come in to us and finalization of this regulatory and policymaking process will be a personal priority of mine." Since then, nothing.

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MeSH Tags: Contraception, Postcoital; Levonorgestrel

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