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Medical News and Perspectives
June 16, 2004

Plan B for "Plan B"?

JAMA. 2004;291(23):2805-2806. doi:10.1001/jama.291.23.2805

Physicians, women's health advocates, and legislators are irate over the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) decision to bar emergency contraceptives from over-the-counter sales in the United States. The birth control pills, which reduce the risk of pregnancy to 1% when taken within 72 hours of intercourse, are available without a prescription in 33 countries.

In December 2003, the FDA's Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee voted 23-4 in favor of over-the-counter sales of Plan B (levonorgestrel), the progestin-only emergency contraceptive made by Barr Laboratories, Bala Cynwyd, Pa.

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