WASHINGTON (January 6, 2005) — While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) weighs a second request by Barr Laboratories to sell its morning-after pill "Plan B" over-the-counter without a prescription, a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that such a change would have no effect on pregnancy rates. The study, co-authored by a Planned Parenthood doctor, analyzed a sample of over 2000 girls and young women, ages 15 to 24 years. One group was given packs of morning after pills and another obtained them from a pharmacy, but the results were the same: 8% of the participants became pregnant and 12% acquired sexually transmitted diseases.
"This study blows the lid off the main argument for putting morning after pills on the drugstore shelf," said Cathy Cleaver Ruse, Esq., Director of Planning and Information for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities. "Proponents have repeatedly claimed that making the drug available without a prescription would reduce abortion numbers by as many as half; now their own study debunks that claim."
Plan B is essentially an "overdose" of prescription birth-control pills. It is marketed and advertised as a "contraceptive" but its own proponents admit that it works before and after conception. Studies in New Zealand and the UK show the drug is associated with an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy, a potentially fatal complication.
"Our message to the FDA remains the same: putting Plan B on the drugstore shelf is bad policy and bad medicine," said Ruse.