RHTP Celebrates Victory in Plan B(R) OTC Approval The Fight Continues for Young Women Left Behind



    WASHINGTON, Aug. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Today the Food and Drug
 Administration (FDA) approved over-the-counter (OTC) access to Plan B(R)
 emergency contraception for women 18 years and older. This is a hard-fought
 and well- deserved victory for women and women's health advocates who have
 worked tirelessly for OTC approval of this safe and effective method of
 preventing pregnancy.
     "Finally, the FDA has stood behind the overwhelming scientific and
 medical evidence that shows Plan B is a safe, effective back-up birth
 control method and that keeping it on prescription unnecessarily delays
 timely use of this product," said Kirsten Moore, President and CEO of the
 Reproductive Health Technologies Project (RHTP).
     While this is a triumph for most women, young women 17 years and under
 are left behind. Restricting OTC access will come at a real cost to these
 women who will have to jump through hoops for this treatment, thereby
 delaying access and making it less effective. Studies show that increased
 access to emergency contraception does not cause teen promiscuity or other
 health risk behaviors. With the almost 300,000 pregnancies occurring each
 year in this country among women under 18, OTC access to Plan B for teens
 is a common sense next-step in a larger strategy to reduce unintended teen
 pregnancy.
     In December 2003, two FDA expert advisory committees voted
 overwhelmingly to recommend that Plan B be made available OTC for women of
 all ages -- a recommendation supported by many scientists and health
 experts within the Agency. Since then, the FDA has missed deadlines, broken
 promises to Senators, instituted an unwarranted rule-making process, and
 flip-flopped on baseless age requirements stalling the process.
     "To be honest, given the bad faith shown by the political leadership at
 the FDA, we didn't expect to get this far. We are pleased that a common
 sense, common ground agenda for reducing unintended pregnancy and the need
 for abortion finally won out. Now the real work begins to ensure that as
 many women as possible are able to get this treatment as quickly as
 possible. As more OTC experience with this product accumulates, we hope
 that Barr Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and the FDA will move quickly to lift these
 unnecessary restrictions on distribution," Moore said.
     Plan B is an FDA-approved, back-up birth control method that prevents
 pregnancy in the first few days after sex. Containing a concentrated dose
 of the progestin hormone found in daily birth control pills, Plan B reduces
 the risk of pregnancy by up to 89 percent when taken within 72 hours of
 sexual intercourse (the sooner a woman takes it, the more effective it is).
 Experts estimate that wider use of emergency contraception could prevent up
 to half of the 3 million unintended pregnancies that occur each year in the
 U.S.
     For a complete timeline of the Plan B OTC process please visit:
 www.rhtp.org .
     Contact: Chrissy Faessen/ Chrissy.faessen@ddbissues.com
                202-220-3769 (office)
                703-582-2777 (cell)
 
 

SOURCE Reproductive Health Technologies Project

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