Women of any age will now be able to buy the morning after pill at pharmacies without needing a prescription, according to the Food and Drug Administration.
The agency said yesterday that it had approved Plan B One-Step — a type of emergency contraception — as a non-prescription drug for use in women who have the potential to bear children.
The drug can prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure if taken within 72 hours. It contains a high dose of levonorgestrel, the same hormone found in most birth control pills.
The decision comes after a federal judge ordered the FDA to make the pill available to women of any age without a prescription. Previously, women younger than 17 needed a doctor's prescription to buy the drug.
Earlier this month, the FDA announced that it would comply with the court ruling. It asked Teva Women's Health, the makers of Plan B One-Step, to submit an application to seek approval of its drug for women of any age. The FDA then appoved this application.
"The agency has fulfilled its commitment to the court," the FDA said in a statement.