Ibis applauds court ruling to lift EC age restriction

April 2013

April 5, 2013 – Ibis is thrilled by today’s federal court ruling to end the age restriction on over-the-counter (OTC) emergency contraception (EC). Currently, only women aged 17 and older can purchase Plan B One-Step and the generic equivalent without a prescription. Federal judge Edward R. Korman has ordered the FDA to lift restrictions on sales of these products within 30 days.

“We are so pleased that Judge Korman has ruled in favor of women and based on scientific evidence,” said Kelly Blanchard, president of Ibis. “Research shows that women under the age of 17 are able to use EC safely and without the involvement of their health care provider. The age restriction is without merit and also makes it harder for all women to access EC in a timely manner.” 

Currently, over-the-counter EC is available “behind the counter,” instead of on the drugstore shelf next to other OTC contraceptives like condoms and spermicides. Women must produce an ID showing their age in order to obtain it from a pharmacist.

Ibis coordinates the Oral Contraceptives (OCs) Over-the-Counter (OTC) Working Group, a coalition of researchers, advocates, and clinicians exploring the feasibility of an OTC switch for an OC product in the US.  Research evidence shows OCs are safe and that OTC access improves women’s ability to continue to use them; professional medical associations like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists support OTC access to OCs. Today’s victory helps to pave the way for approval of a future OTC OC without an age restriction.

“We at Ibis look forward to the day when all women in the US are able to obtain OTC EC and OTC OCs directly off the shelf at their local drugstore, grocery store, or gas station.”