ROCKVILLE, Md. - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration late last month announced its approval of the emergency contraceptive drug, Plan B, also known as the morning-after pill, for over-the-counter sale to women over age 17. Plan B will remain a prescription item for women age 17 and under, and must be sold from behind pharmacy counters.
cies won't be able to carry Plan B," said Gary Wirth, director, pharmacy professional services, Ahold USA, Braintree, Mass., who was interviewed during the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Pharmacy & Technology Conference this week in San Diego.
"Plan B going OTC has similar implications to pseudophederine in that it needs to be behind the pharmacy counter," said Deborah Parker, director, pharmacy operations, Wegmans Food Markets, Rochester, N.Y. "While it is more available, that provision does prevent customers from access."
However, some questions remain to be answered, Wirth said. One is how the federal approval will work in the nine states that have already allowed pharmacists to dispense the emergency contraception with the collaboration of a physician.
Another is how to manage a work process that takes pharmacists away from their usual tasks and to probably do some kind of clinical evaluation. "It is an opportunity as well as a challenge," he said.