The emergency contraceptive Plan B cannot be sold over the counter, the US Food and Drug Administration has ruled. The agency said that the application was denied because only 29 of the 585 women studied by the manufacturer, Barr Laboratories, were under 16. However, it suggested that Plan B might be approved for over-the- counter sales if Barr could show that it was safe for adolescents.
The FDA's decision was unexpected and controversial because an advisory panel had decided by a vote of 27 to 0 that the drug could be safely sold over the counter. Echoing other critics, a Planned Parenthood spokesman, Dr Scott Spear, said that politics had corrupted good science. But some women's groups approved of the move. Wendy Wright of Concern Women for America told the Washington Post that "there's too much potential for harm to women and girls if it's easily available. It's the right decision to not have it next to candy bars and toothpaste."
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