Now that the federal government is going to allow over-the-counter sales of the Plan B morning-after pill, Lawrence pharmacists are wondering what happens next.
Even though the Food and Drug Administration hopes to implement nonprescription sales by the end of the year, pharmacists are wondering when and how they will get the official word.
"I saw the news at lunch today and that's all I know," said Jason Anderson, pharmacy manager at Walgreen Drug Store, 3421 W. Sixth St. "I haven't read anything on it."
Cathy Thrasher, chief pharmacist at Watkins Memorial Health Center at Kansas University, said she had no way to predict whether demand for the morning-after pill would increase by the end of the year.
For now, Thrasher does not plan to increase supply of the morning-after pill. She compared the new over-the-counter regulations with those in place for other medicines, like when a 2005 state law meant to combat methamphetamine production forced medicines with pseudoephedrine from the shelf to go behind the pharmacy counter.
"It would not be a totally unfamiliar way of operating for us," she said.
Mark Smith, owner of Orchards Drug, 1410 Kasold Drive, said he thought demand for the pills would increase.
"I would think sales would go up just because it has been a real inconvenience for people to have to go get a prescription for it," he said.
More about Plan B
- 6News video: FDA approves nonprescription sale of morning after pill
- Plan B pill to be sold OTC (08-25-06)
- Anti-abortion groups take aim at FDA choice (08-18-06)
- Morning-after pill documents in dispute (08-05-06)
- FDA switches gears on morning-after pill (08-01-06)
- Wikipedia.org: Emergency contraception
Under the current regulations, sales are just about nil, Smith said. He could not remember ever selling more than one package.
Tom Wilcox, owner of Round Corner Drug, 801 Mass., also said there had been little demand for the pill.
"I can't even recall the last time I dispensed any," he said.
The FDA decision was long overdue, said Peter Brownlie, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri. But the organization was not happy about the sales restrictions imposed on teenagers, calling it "scientifically baseless." Girls 17 and under still will have to get a prescription to obtain the drug.
The decision brought a positive response from Chase Schultz, a Kansas University sophomore in computer science from Goessel.
"As a student, I think that there's probably a fair amount of people that probably get into some sort of trouble," he said. "I'm concentrating on school, and the last thing I need is a kid to worry about."
Schultz said he understands the stance from some opponents who say easier access will promote sexual conduct, but it's nothing new, Schultz said.
"I think it will pass on through, and I think it will become more and more insignificant just as birth control has since the 1960s," he said.