US abortion ban: CVS, Walmart ration Plan B contraceptive pills as demand surges

Edited By: Vyomica Berry
Washington Updated: Jun 28, 2022, 12:18 PM(IST)

"Plan B," a form of emergency contraception, sits on a shelf of a local pharmacy in Montgomery, Alabama Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Informally called the 'morning-after pill,' Plan B is an over-the-counter emergency contraceptive tablet that is most effective when taken less than 72 hours after unprotected sex or birth control failure and can prevent pregnancy

Following a surge in demand after the US Supreme Court's decision to ban abortion, some of the biggest retailers in the country including CVS and Walmart are rationing Plan B emergency contraceptive pills, The Wall Street Journal reported.

A CVS spokesperson told 'The Journal' that the major chain store was allowing customers to purchase up to three of the pills while Walmart’s cut-off was “four or six.”

Colloquially called the “morning-after pill,” Plan B is an over-the-counter emergency contraceptive tablet that is most effective when taken less than 72 hours after unprotected sex or birth control failure and can prevent pregnancy.

The pill, which works by interfering with a person’s ovulation cycle, has levonorgestrel as its main ingredient.

Many people who can get pregnant have expressed their interest in stockpiling the pill after Roe v. Wade was overturned on Friday last week.

The legislation does not apply to the morning-after pill, contrary to claims online.

Increasing the chance of doses going unused and expiring in medicine cabinets, experts have been advising against stockpiling Plan B as it limits access for those who need it immediately.

Also see | From automatic bans to complex patchwork: Abortion access threatened in half of US states

A 21-year-old spiritual adviser and tarot card reader in Saylorsburg, Sarah McKenna told The New York Times this week that she went on Amazon to buy pills “not only for myself but for those who need it, because people are going to buy them and resell them for a crazy price.”

“I have friends and family who can’t always afford those things and I wanted to just have some extra to make sure that the people who need it can have it. Even if I have to ship it to somebody randomly,” she told the publication.

“Plan B has an expiration date of about four years” and that, while not “completely ineffective after the expiration date,” Melissa Sörgel, a licensed pharmacist at OTC Beratung in Germany, told Insider.

“It may no longer be fully effective” so it’s “advisable to not use an expired pill in order to avoid the risk of a pregnancy."

(With inputs from agencies)

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