On July 13, 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a one-dose version of the Plan B emergency-contraceptive pill, called Plan B® One-Step emergency contraception (levonorgestrel tablet, 1.5 mg).
The FDA is expanding over-the-counter (OTC) access to Plan B® One Step for consumers age 17 or older; women younger than age 17 will require a prescription. According to a press release by the drug’s producers, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Inc, the product will be available at licensed U.S. retail pharmacies within the next month.
When taken as directed, Plan B® One-Step is highly effective in reducing the chance of pregnancy — about seven out of eight women who would have gotten pregnant will not become pregnant after taking it. Like other forms of emergency contraception, Plan B® One-Step will not work if a woman is already pregnant and it will not terminate an existing pregnancy.
With the introduction of Plan B® One-Step, women can help prevent an unintended pregnancy after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure with just one pill in one dose. The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) applauds these exciting and empowering developments in women’s reproductive health. Although it is a victory that EC is available in a one-dosage option as well as OTC for women aged 17 and older, for Latinas, there still exist a disproportionate amount of barriers to EC access, including the age restriction, the requirement of government-issued personal identification, and high cost.
For more information about Latinas and emergency contraception access, click here.