Will the ‘Morning-After’ Pill Make the Rx to OTC Switch?

Sep 13, 2002

An article in The New England Journal of Medicine is calling for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve the so-called ‘Morning-After’ pill for over-the-counter distribution.

According to the author, Dr. David Grimes of Family Health International in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, the US has one of the highest rates of unplanned pregnancies among all the industrialized nations. Dr. Grimes argues that “allowing women to obtain the treatment without their doctors’ permission could have a significant impact on the public health burden from unwanted pregnancies.”

Dr. Grimes points to previous action by other health organizations in making the ‘Morning-After’ pill available to women over-the-counter. Israel, South Africa, Canada and some European countries currently have the product available without a prescription.

Moderator’s Comment: Should the FDA approve the ‘Morning-After’
pill as an OTC product?

We’ll leave the morality of the pill’s use to the individual.
Others who see the world in more black and white terms than ourselves will undoubtedly
disagree. That is their right and we encourage debate on the issue.

There are concerns, however, about people abandoning safe-sex
practices if the FDA were to give its approval. Advertising and packaging (assuming
the FDA approved OTC sale) would have to make abundantly clear that the ‘Morning-After’
pill offers no protection against sexually transmitted disease.

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