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Will My Pharmacy Sell Emergency Contraception?

Nowadays, you should be able to walk into a pharmacy and buy some form of emergency contraception. But that doesn’t always happen. Why?

  • Recent FDA changes. The FDA removed the age restrictions for Plan B One-Step in 2013. Legally, anybody can buy it now. But it may take time before every pharmacy sells it that way. Right now, your pharmacy might still ask for ID showing that you're 17 or older. Call ahead to make sure you can get the drug you want. 
  • Employee confusion. "A lot of employees are still confused about what's legal and what's not," says Kelly Cleland, MPH, a researcher at the Office of Population Research at Princeton University. Surveys show that some pharmacy employees don't follow the guidelines. They may have outdated ideas about restrictions. Some may think that you need a prescription for an over-the-counter drug or believe that there's an age restriction for a drug when there isn't.
  • State laws. Some states may pass laws attempting to restrict who can buy emergency contraception. For instance, Oklahoma recently passed a law preventing anyone under 17 from getting Plan B One-Step without a prescription.