The Australian Therapeutic Goods Association Committee on National Drugs and Poisons made a preliminary decision to allow the selling of emergency contraception (EC) over the counter. The committee will vote again in October to confirm the decision, which would place strict guidelines on pharmacists, such as talking to the customer about their sexual health and the side effects of the pill, reports the Daily Telegraph.
The Public Health Association of Australia supports making EC available over the counter because it would reduce the number of unwanted and unplanned pregnancies while cutting public health costs, according the Courier Mail. However, the Telegraph reports that the Australian Medical Association opposes the decision to make EC available without a prescription, arguing that “access to these drugs should ideally take place in the context of a medical consultation that addresses the range of health issues relating to unprotected sexual intercourse.”
In the United States, the Feminist Majority Foundation, along with a host of other reproductive health and rights groups, including American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Medical Association, are advocating for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of over-the-counter status for EC. The Women’s Capital Corporation, makers of Plan B, have submitted a request to the FDA for over-the-counter status. The FDA is expected to make its decision by early 2004.