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Plan B Now Available In Drug Stores

KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

The emergency contraceptive, Plan B, is now available on many drug store shelves. Last month, the  US Food and Drug Administration approved the pill for over- the-counter purchase, with no age restrictions. The pill’s availability doesn’t end the debate over controversial prescriptions in Washington state.

In 2007, a pharmacy and two pharmacists from Olympia went to court to challenge the state’s newly adopted regulations on stocking and dispensing prescription drugs. The regulations stated that if a pharmacist has religious objections to filling certain prescriptions, like the morning-after pill, someone else in the store can dispense it, or refer the patient to another pharmacy. The pharmacists told the court that the regulations violated their religious beliefs.

In 2012, a federal judge in Tacoma agreed with the pharmacists and struck down the state’s regulation. The state is appealing the ruling, and the case is in the appeals system. Even though Plan B is now available without prescription, the attorney general’s office says the issue is broader than that and applies to other prescribed drugs.

Year started with KUOW: 1994