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Morning-after pill okay for ages 15 and up, says FDA

The FDA announced that Plan B, usually described as a 'morning-after pill' because it can prevent pregnancy if taken shortly after sexual intercourse, will be available to girls and women without a prescription if they can prove they are at least 15 years old.

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Plan B One-Step (levonorgestrel), one of the brands known as the 'morning-after pill,' will be available without a prescription (over-the-counter), the FDA announced today. The FDA also lowered to 15 the age at which girls and women can buy the emergency contraceptive without a prescription.

Teva Women's Health / AP

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The government is moving the morning-after pill over the counter but only those 15 and older can buy it — an attempt to find middle ground just days before a court-imposed deadline to lift all age restrictions on the emergency contraceptive.

Today, Plan B One-Step is sold behind pharmacy counters, and buyers must prove they're 17 or older to buy it without a prescription or else see a doctor first. Tuesday's decision by the Food and Drug Administration lowers the age limit to 15 — and will allow the pill to sit on drugstore shelves next to condoms and spermicides or other women's health products. But customers must prove their age at the cash register.

Teva Women's Health, which makes Plan B, said it would begin over-the-counter sales in a few months.

 
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