19% of Pharmacies to 17-Year-Olds: No Plan B

...by law, they're supposed to sell it to teens of that age
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2012 10:41 AM CDT
19% of Pharmacies to 17-Year-Olds: No Plan B
This frame grab from video shows a box of Plan B morning after pill.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – Pharmacies are required by law to provide over-the-counter emergency contraception to 17-year-olds without a prescription, but a new study in Pediatrics journal found that one out of five drugstores does not comply. Boston University researchers contacted all the pharmacies (943 total) in five big cities twice, posing as a 17-year-old once and as a doctor the second time. The supposed 17-year-old girls, upon requesting Plan B and giving their age, were denied access by 19% of the drugstores, the New York Daily News reports.

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When the supposed doctors called the same pharmacies, just 3% told them the so-called morning after pill was not available to 17-year-olds. The "17-year-olds" were also put on hold twice as often as the "doctors," suggesting pharmacies were uncertain about the guidelines. Drugstores in low-income neighborhoods have been found to be more likely to give teens incorrect information than those in wealthier neighborhoods, Time notes. (Read more contraception stories.)

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