Sunday, December 18, 2011

Plan B and Canadian Pharmacies

Recently, in the US, there were plans to remove the age limit for Plan B without a prescription. The FDA advised that it was safe to sell over the counter but then the plans were overturned.

In Canada, however, Plan B is legally available over the counter, except for in Saskatchewan and Quebec. This means that in Ontario you should be able to pick up Plan B from the shelf in the "Family Planning" or birth control section of a pharmacy. This means that you no longer are required to speak to a pharmacist and be asked questions relating to your sexual activities. This means that, ideally, you should be able to grab Plan B from the shelf and pay for it without judgement or question.

I was surprised and pissed when I saw this the other day at a Shoppers Drugmart in Toronto. (I apologize for the poor picture quality - my phone does not have the best camera).

It seems that Shoppers has found a way around this requirement to have Plan B sold over the counter. By placing an empty box on the counter it appears that the pill is available without consulting a pharmacist but the label still directs consumers towards the pharmacist. There is so much wrong with this. For having the pharmacist ask a few questions about sexual activity, the price of Plan B increase by $15 (may be more or less depending on pharmacy) for the cost of "consulting." It also completely goes against making Plan B easily available.

I don't know if this is the practice of the entire company or this specific pharmacist. Anyone else in the Toronto area, there are some places like the Bay Centre for Birth Control that provide Plan B at a much lower cost.

Plan B is not an abortion pill. According to the Plan B website this pill works if taken within 72 hours of having sex and prevents fertilization by temporarily stopping the release of an egg.