That’s it, we’re in the 21st Century: College campuses can install Plan B vending machines, according to a recent ruling by the FDA.
The regulatory agency weighed in on the issue after Pennsylvania’s Shippensburg University installed an emergency contraception vending machine—a smart move that 85 percent of its students said they supported. It can be hard for college students to get Plan B if their school doesn’t have an on-campus pharmacy, or if its hours are limited. Plan B is most effective within 72 hours of having sex, which is problematic at some schools where health centers close on weekends. Dispensing Plan B via a vending machine can also be an encouragement to people who want the contraceptive pill, but don’t want to talk to anyone about it.
This is a welcome ruling from the FDA which, you’ll recall, was extremely slow to make Plan B available over-the-counter. But Plan B is still restricted for use to people 17 and older and some opponents of the university’s vending machine plan challenged that putting the drug on sale in the machine for $25 a box could lead to people younger than 17 buying the pills. The FDA decided not to take any action against the school, opening the door (fingers crossed!) for more vending machines on campuses nationwide.
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