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HHS Nixes Over-the-Counter Sale of Plan B

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius decided yesterday to overrule a recommendation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow the over-the-counter sale of the morning after pill known as Plan B.

The Hill is reporting that scientists at the FDA determined that the drug was safe enough to make available to women of all ages without a prescription. FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg issued a statement saying she agreed with the scientists that "Plan B One-Step is safe and effective and should be approved for nonprescription use for all females of child-bearing potential."

The recommendation was met with outrage from prolife organizations as well as Congressional Republicans who threatened a "severe blowback" if wider access was permitted.

However, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius directed the FDA to deny the application and continue to require a prescription for women younger than 17. Her letter to the FDA said she believed there was insufficient clinical evidence to support the drug's safety for all of the age groups who could potentially access the drug if it was made more widely available.

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