FDA Approves OTC Sale Of Emergency Contraceptive - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

8/24/06-Tyler

FDA Approves OTC Sale Of Emergency Contraceptive

The makers of Plan B say the pill gives women a second chance to prevent unplanned pregnancy when other birth control measures fail. Last year alone, planned parenthood distributed more than 23,000 Plan B pills. Emily Snook is the Director of Media Relations for Planned Parenthood Of Northeast Texas.

She says the move to make the drug more readily available as a victory for women's health.

"Medically accurate sexuality education and increased access to contraception are the only proven ways to prevent unintended pregnancy," says Snooks.

Religious conservatives have been opposed to the drug since it was first introduced as a prescription several years ago. They say Plan B interferes with God's plan to create new life.

Monsignor Joe Strickland with Tyler's Cathedral Of Immaculate Conception explains.

"From our Catholic perspective, it's not a service to the community. It's not a help. It's just taking us further away from respecting the precious gift of every human life that we believe is ultimately only given by God," says Strickland.

Plan B is manufactured by Barr Laboratories and will only be available over-the-counter to women 18 and older. Teenagers 17 and under will still need a prescription.

Because of that, the drug will be sold exclusively in pharmacies and health clinics, but in East Texas, the majority of pharmacy's choose to not to carry the drug.

Mark Sullivan is the owner of Good's Pharmacy explains why.

"It's because no one's requested it from us. We've had no request.  We've had a couple of people ask us about it, but no one has requested a prescription from us, and we don't make it a habit to carry things we don't have any need for," says Sullivan.

For three years, Barr Laboratories has been fighting to make the drug available over the counter. With the victory announced today, they say they will be ready to go to market with the OTC version by the end of the year.

Lindsay Wilcox/Reporting: lwilcox@kltv.com

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