OTC Availability of Plan B in Canada Reduces Healthcare Costs, While FDA Remains Stubbornly Opposed to Approving Switch

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Despite cries for the emergency contraception to be available over the counter in the U.S., many American women still need permission from their doctor to get it.

In April 28, 2005, the morning-after pill known as Plan B became available to Canadian women without a prescription. Since then, sales have doubled. Duramed Pharmaceuticals, Canadian manufacturer of Plan B, supplied 23,000 morning-after pills to retail pharmacies in January, 2005. Now they average 41,000 a month.

Plan B is an oral drug containing high doses of the same hormones found in regular oral contraceptive pills, which, when taken within 72 hours after unprotected sex, may prevent pregnancy from occurring.

Evidence shows that easier availability of the pill is leading to significant savings for Canada's healthcare system. Dr. Judith Soon, a scientist at the University of British Columbia who is conducting a study of the pill's use, says that costs for abortions and physician visits may well be dramatically reduced. Official numbers on the full effect of Plan B on abortion rates and healthcare costs will not be available for a year or more, but early indications are very positive.

“Emergency contraception is available without a prescription in 44 countries around the world,” says Dr. Paul Zickler, of DoctorSolve Healthcare Solutions (http://www.doctorsolve.com), an online pharmacy service. “Yet, despite recommendations from the American Medical Association and the advisory committee of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the FDA still prohibits sales of Plan B over the counter.”

The FDA claims that there is insufficient proof that young teenage girls can take the drug safely without their doctor's guidance, but critics say that the FDA refusal to switch is based on political pressure. The denial was a major goal of social conservatives, including members of Congress who lobbied President Bush on the issue.

More than 300,000 women are sexually assaulted each year in the U.S. Of these, an estimated 25,000 will become pregnant as a result. About 22,000 of these pregnancies could be prevented if all women who were raped had easy access to emergency contraception.

“Plan B is FDA-approved, and it has been proven safe and effective,” says Zickler. “ It should be readily available to women who most likely require it during a time of crisis. It is a way to prevent unwanted pregnancy and therefore prevent abortion. For a country where nearly one half of its annual pregnancies are accidental, this should be an easy decision to make.”

DoctorSolve, a Canadian Internet-based pharmacy intermediary (license #BC Q37), offers lower cost, long-term prescriptions. A professionally registered pharmacist fills all prescriptions. A certified member of the Canadian International Pharmacy Association, DoctorSolve is ranked as one of the best online pharmacies by PharmacyChecker.com. DoctorSolve has filled more than 200,000 U.S. prescriptions.

For more information, call 1-866-732-0305 or visit http://www.doctorsolve.com


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Dianne Bidewell
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