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April 28, 2005

Canadian Govt. Approves Plan B For OTC Sale

Canada does the right thing, while American women have to suffer through pharmacists and their "conscience clauses." Pharmacists continue to refuse to fill birth control prescriptions, thereby discriminating against mothers and disobeying a doctor's orders. Birth control and abortion are legal in the United States, but both are getting to be harder to come by.

Canadian Government Approves OTC Status for Emergency Contraception

Canada's federal government announced on Tuesday that it will now allow emergency contraception (EC) to be available over-the-counter (OTC) to women for the prevention of unwanted pregnancy. EC, sold under the name Plan B and distributed by Paladin Labs Inc. in Canada, will be kept behind the counter and dispensed without a prescription from a pharmacist.

"Given the significant psychological, social and economic impact of improving access to emergency contraction for women across Canada, this is a significant step forward in women's rights and health," Dr. Andre Lalonde, executive vice president of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada said, reports the Canadian Press. According to the society, one in two pregnancies in Canada is unintended.

EC has previously been available over-the-counter in three Canadian provinces British Columbia, Quebec, and Saskatchewan. The Canadian Pressreports that the number of women who used EC in British Columbia per year more than doubled after it was made available without a prescription in 2000, preventing hundreds of abortions.

In the United States, US Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Patty Murray (D-WA) have vowed to block the confirmation of Lester Crawford, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner nominee, until a decision is made on granting over-the-counter status to emergency contraception (EC).

Crawford, who is currently serving as acting commissioner of the FDA, would not commit to when the FDA will resolve the issue of over-the-counter (OTC) status for Plan B.

The Feminist Majority Foundation leads a national drive on college campuses to increase the availability of EC for young women. The accessibility of EC has become all the more dire due to nationwide controversy as pharmacists refuse to fill prescriptions on so-called religious grounds. EC is exceedingly safe and effective if taken within 5 days but it is most effective (95 percent) if taken within 24 hours after any unprotected sexual intercourse, when a condom breaks, or after a sexual assault. EC has the potential to cut in half the 3 million unintended pregnancies in the United States each year and prevent thousands of abortions a year.

Posted on April 28, 2005 at 08:07 AM | Permalink


How much to you want to bet Congress will try to make it illegal for a woman to obtain EC in Canada.

Posted by: Ron O. at Apr 28, 2005 4:10:29 PM

Here's a thought I haven't seen discussed so far:

Why can't the doctor order the drugs himself, keep a stock on hand of the "controversial ones" he/she might prescribe, and simply GIVE THEM to his patient right then and there? Cuts out the "middle man" and avoids this whole controversy (which I believe has merit on BOTH sides, BTW).

Food for thought.

Posted by: Scarbo at Apr 28, 2005 5:08:50 PM

I was wondering the same thing as Ron. I'm guessing the House will have a bill next session to make it illegal for American women to obtain Plan B from Canada.

Posted by: carla at Apr 28, 2005 5:16:20 PM

As a pharmacist, I believe that Plan B and other ECs do not belong in a retail pharmacy setting, and here's why: A woman who has been raped does not want to have to drive all over town to get these products, and that's why they should be dispensed out of doctor's offices and emergency rooms.

just my 2 cents.

Posted by: kohoutekdriver8 at Apr 28, 2005 10:41:51 PM