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Emergency Contraception: A Guide for Pharmacies and Retailers (2016)

What is emergency contraception(also known as “the morning-after pill”)?

  • Emergency contraception (EC) prevents pregnancy; EC will not disrupt an existing pregnancy.
  • EC pillsthat contain the progestin hormone, levonorgestrel(LNG), are sold under several names, including Plan B One -Step®, Take Action®, My Way®, Next Choice One -Dose®, and others. One-pill LNG EC products are available over-the-counter (OTC) without age restrictions. (See reverse side for specific product details.)
  • Until April 2016, two-pillLNG EC products were available for OTC sale to women and men aged 17 and older. These products are no longer marketed
    in the U.S.
  • EC pills that contain ulipristal acetate are available under the brand name ella® and are prescription only.
  • All EC works best when taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex but may be effective up to days after.
  • EC is safe for women of all ages to use.

What are the restrictions for purchasing EC over-the-counter? Do customers need to show ID?

  • There are no age or point-of-sale restrictions on the purchase of LNG EC products containing one 1.5 mg LNGpill (Plan B One-Step ®and generic equivalents). Previously, OTC purchases were subject to age restrictions, but these have been removedby the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
    • Any woman or man of any age can purchase these EC products without needing to show ID.
    • There is no limit on the number of packages that a person can purchase.
    • Until very recently, some of the generic LNG one-pill product labels were required to state that the product is intended for women aged 17 and older, although this was not a restriction on sale and no ID was required.As of April 2016, these generics may remove any reference to age from their labels.