EC Status and Availability

United States of America

EC ever use among women of reproductive age: 11% (CDC 2006-2010, ever use among women of reproductive age)

Registered LNG-EC products:

  • Aftera* - Available over the counter without having to go through a pharmacist
  • Fallback Solo* - Available over the counter without having to go through a pharmacist
  • Morning After* - Available over the counter without having to go through a pharmacist
  • My Way* - Available over the counter without having to go through a pharmacist
  • Next Choice* - Available over the counter without having to go through a pharmacist
  • Next Choice One Dose* - Available over the counter without having to go through a pharmacist
  • Plan B One-Step* - Available over the counter without having to go through a pharmacist
  • Take Action* - Available over the counter without having to go through a pharmacist

Registered UPA-EC products:

  • ella* - Available only with prescription

Products marked with * have been approved by a stringent regulatory authority, such as the WHO Prequalification Programme, the US Food and Drug Administration, the European Medicines Agency, or other.

Where at least one type of ECP is available: Public sector clinics, Private clinics, Pharmacies, IPPF-affiliated system, Schools, Emergency room

Age restrictions for accessing ECPs: Yes

Type of age restriction: The status of age restrictions on EC access has changed rapidly in 2013 due to ongoing legal developments. Following an announcement on June 10, 2013, Plan B One-Step (a one-pill regimen) will be made available OTC without a prescription to all women; and women under the age of 17 will still require a prescription for all two-pill versions of LNG EC. The effective date for these changes is not yet known but is expected in the near future. (This post was last updated on June 11, 2013.)

See Legal history, developments, and/or challenges for more information.

Legal history, developments, and/or challenges: Non-prescription access to EC has been contested for some years. In July 2009, LNG EC was approved for sale directly from pharmacies without a prescription for those aged 17 years and older, but those 16 and younger were still required to obtain a prescription. Teva Women’s Health Inc. submitted an application to make Plan B One-Step available OTC to all women without a prescription, but in December 2011, the application was denied. They subsequently submitted an amended application for OTC access to women 15 years or older with proof of age.

On April 5, 2013, U.S. District Judge Edward Korman of New York ruled to allow OTC access for all ages to all registered LNG EC products including Plan B, Plan B One-Step, and generic brands; and mandated that the FDA comply within 30 days. Three weeks later, on May 1, 2013, the FDA approved Teva’s amended application to make Plan B One-Step available OTC to women 15 years or older. The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed an appeal to Judge Korman's ruling the next day (May 2nd).

As a result of the conflicting rulings, the DOJ filed a stay motion to extend the 30-day compliance period until the appeals process was complete. On June 5, 2013, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled to make all two-pill versions of EC available OTC without any point of sale restrictions immediately. However, the Court did not rule on one-pill versions pending the outcome of the appeal.

On June 10, 2013, the DOJ, in a letter to Judge Korman, declared its intent to drop the appeal and make Plan B One-Step available OTC without a prescription to all women. The FDA stated that it would not seek to make two-pill versions of LNG EC available OTC to women of all ages – women under the age of 17 must still obtain a prescription.

Outside of the legal developments, in practice pharmacists and other health care providers have refused to provide EC.

(This post was last updated on June 11, 2013.)

Legal/regulatory documents in which EC is included: Post-rape care guidelines

Pricing information: LNG Products: $40 – $50. The average price for generics is $42 and the average price for branded products (Plan B One-Step) is $48.

Other relevant information: EC access in emergency rooms as a part of post-rape care is uneven. The DOJ recently released revised protocols – A National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensics Examinations: Adolescents/Adults (2nd Edition) – which recommends that victims be offered EC consistent with current treatment guidelines, or be counseled on how to access services in a timely fashion if a provider does not wish to provide these services due to moral or religious beliefs. It should be noted that this is a recommendation, not a mandate.

EC distributed via IPPF outlets (>1,000,000 in 2012).

Our country-by-country information comes from numerous sources, including partners from around the world. We have made every effort to ensure that the information included here is correct, but EC availability and policies can change quickly. We welcome your additions and/or corrections

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