White House loses bid to delay Plan B access to women of all ages

June 5, 2013

Here is the latest from the Plan B battle: The White House has lost its bid to delay a ruling that makes emergency contraceptives available to women and girls of all ages.

Three judges from the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit did grant the White House its requested delay to keep one-pill products, like Plan B One-Step, restricted to females 15 and over. The court will not, however, allow any age restrictions on other two-pill emergency contraceptive products.


Plan B and Plan B One-Step are pretty similar products that use the same active ingredient, levonorgestrel. Plan B, an older product introduced to the American market in 1999, has two pills at a lower dosage and looks like this:

Whereas Plan B One-Step was first approved by the FDA in 2009 and looks like this:


Keep in mind: This is not a ruling on the merits of the case, but rather a decision on whether to drop age restrictions before issuing that ruling. We don't quite know what the practical impact of this is yet, either: Plan B manufacturer, Teva Pharmaceutical, has told me previously that it would take "a few months" to deal with the logistics of new labeling and other steps necessary to move its product out onto drugstore shelves. In other words: Don't expect emergency contraceptives to show up next to toothpaste and Advil tomorrow.

You can read the full stay order right here:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/files/2013/06/StayOrder.pdf

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Ezra Klein · June 5, 2013