NEW YORK CITY – November 14, 2006 - Starting this week, women and men aged 18 and older can get Plan
B at New York City pharmacies without a prescription. Barr Laboratories
announced last week they had begun shipping Plan B to pharmacies across the
nation following the FDA's August 2006
decision to approve over-the-counter access to Plan B for women 18 and older.
Cost and age-restrictions on Plan B could still pose barriers to some women. The expected cost of Plan B is $40 - $70 and FDA rules still require women 17 and under to have a prescription. To ensure wide access to Plan B, the Health Department will continue to offer free Plan B at its clinics in the five boroughs to all women, including those under the age of 18. Some other health centers also offer Plan B to women and teens at low cost. All New Yorkers can find out where to get Plan B by calling 3-1-1.
"We want all New Yorkers to know that Plan B is now available without a prescription if you are 18 or older," said Deborah Kaplan, Assistant Commissioner of the Bureau of Maternal, Infant, and Reproductive Health. "Plan B is a safe and effective way to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. Women and teens who cannot afford to buy Plan B, or who are too young to buy it at the pharmacy, can get it free or at low cost by calling 3-1-1 or visiting a Health Department clinic."
How to Get Plan B
The Facts about Plan B
- Plan B is a type of birth control. It also called the
morning-after pill or emergency contraception. Plan B is not the same as the
abortion pill. Plan B will not cause an abortion and will not have any effect
on an existing pregnancy.
- Plan B can prevent pregnancy after having unprotected
sex. For example, it can be used when a condom breaks or after forced sex.
- Women and men 18 or older who want to buy Plan B will
have to ask for it at a pharmacy, and they may be required to show
identification to prove their age.
- The sooner Plan B is taken, the better. Plan B is most
effective when taken within three days (72 hours) after unprotected sex,
reducing their risk of pregnancy by 89%, and it is moderately effective when
taken up to five days (120 hours) after unprotected sex.
- Plan B does not protect against HIV or other sexually
transmitted infections; women and men must use condoms every time they have
sex to protect themselves and their partners.
- Ongoing birth control, like the pill, is the best way to prevent unintended pregnancy. There are many safe and effective birth control methods. For more information on birth control options and where to get them free or at low cost, call 3-1-1 or visit http://www.nyc.gov/health.
Health Department staff will be visiting hundreds of pharmacies throughout the city in December to provide educational materials and information on how women of all ages can get Plan B.
The Department will also continue to provide Plan B education and outreach to teens and older women in partnership with four community organizations. This campaign is part of the Mayor's Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Initiative, launched in April 2005 to increase access to emergency contraception and to link women to ongoing sexual and reproductive health services.
For more information on Plan B or ongoing birth control, call 3-1-1 or visit nyc.gov/health.