What a 15-Year-Old Needs to Buy Plan B

What a 15-Year-Old Needs to Buy Plan B
The FDA approved the sale of Plan B contraceptives to people aged 15 and older without a prescription (Courtesy Women's Capital Corporation)
Courtesy Women's Capital Corporation

The Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday that it approved an application by Teva Women’s Health to sell the emergency contraceptive Plan B One-Step to women (and men) 15 years of age and older without a prescription. The product will also now be available on store shelves rather than behind a counter. Teva is redesigning the packaging to include anti-theft features and a UPC code that, when scanned, prompts the cashier to verify proof of the customer’s age.

Of course, most 15-year-olds don’t have driver’s licenses. How will they prove their age? Not with a school ID—those are not valid. Consumers need to present a government-issued ID, such as a state ID, passport, or birth certificate, FDA spokeswoman Erica Jefferson says. A Department of Motor Vehicles learner’s permit is also acceptable.

Some reproductive health advocates are concerned that these requirements will keep Plan B out of the hands of many consumers who are legally eligible. “This compromise doesn’t address the reality that not every woman has a photo ID—especially women in urban areas who may not drive and women aged 15 and 16,” Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said in a statement.

FDA and Teva declined to comment about this concern.

The drug retails for about $50. In 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services directed the FDA to turn down Teva’s application to make Plan B One-Step available over the counter to those aged 16 and younger, despite the FDA’s recommendations.

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