August 24, 2006

US OKs wider access for Barr “morning-after” pill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Barr Pharmaceuticals Inc. won U.S.
approval to sell its Plan B "morning-after" contraceptive
without a prescription to women 18 and older, the company said
on Thursday.

Younger girls still need a prescription for Plan B, Barr
said in a statement. The Plan B pills may prevent pregnancy
when taken within 72 hours of sexual intercourse.

The Food and Drug Administration approval follows more than
three years of controversy. Backers and opponents of wider
access had fiercely lobbied the agency, and the feud stalled
the nominations of two FDA commissioners.

Plan B will be kept behind pharmacy counters, Barr said.
The pills should be available in a dual nonprescription and
prescription package by the end of the year.

"While we still feel that Plan B should be available to a
broader age group without a prescription, we are pleased that
the agency has determined that Plan B is safe and effective for
use by those 18 years of age and older as an over-the-counter
product," Barr Chief Executive Bruce Downey said in a