Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permitted generic emergency contraceptive pill manufacturers to sell their products over the counter. This is seemingly great news for increasing the variety of emergency contraceptives accessible to people who need them and making them relatively affordable, but there are still barriers to access specifically for women and teens of color who disproportionately live in poor and segregated neighborhoods that are routinely vulnerable to reproductive rights and justice violations.
After years of litigation, in 2013 drug manufacturer Teva was granted a three-year exclusivity agreement that would allow its product, Plan B One-Step, to be the only emergency contraceptive (EC) sold over the counter without age restrictions. However, that changed in February when the FDA sent a letter to generic emergency contraceptive pill manufacturers that permitted them to sell their products over the counter because Plan B’s exclusivity agreement was deemed “too broad.”
To compensate for reversing its prior agreement with Teva, the FDA requires manufacturers of generics, such as My Way and Next Choice One Dose, to have a label that says “for ages 17 and up,” though people will not be required to show proof of age. Plan B will be the only emergency contraceptive pill without a “17 and up” label.