- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 7, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) - The government is considering whether it’s OK for young teenagers to buy the morning-after pill without a prescription.

Teva Pharmaceuticals wants its Plan B morning-after pill to become the first truly over-the-counter form of emergency contraception. The pill can prevent pregnancy if taken soon after unprotected sex. Currently, women 17 and older can buy it without a prescription if they show a pharmacist proof of age. Younger teens need a prescription.

Doctors’ and women’s health groups have long argued that the pill is safe even for younger teens and that lifting the age restriction would increase access for everyone. The nearly decade-long over-the-counter push even wound up in federal court, where a judge in 2009 ordered the Food and Drug Administration to consider lifting the age limit.

Teva formally made that request for its Plan B One-Step in February, and the FDA’s deadline to decide is Wednesday. If the FDA agrees, Plan B One-Step could be moved from behind the counter to sell on drugstore shelves.

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