The moral agenda (I)

Compromise May Restrict ‘Morning-After’ Pill

The distributor of the emergency contraceptive “Plan B” and the government are discussing a compromise that would place some restrictions on proposed over-the-counter sales of the “morning-after” pill — an outcome that critics say would be based more on election-year politics than on science.

Although a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel voted 23 to 4 in December in favor of making the drug available on drugstore shelves, the proposed compromise would ignore important elements of that recommendation, said several people familiar with the negotiations but not allowed to speak on the record.

The application to give Plan B full over-the-counter status has been sharply criticized by social conservatives who say it would lead to increased teenage promiscuity.

The ongoing talks have focused on possibly setting a minimum age for purchasers and keeping the drug behind drugstore counters so pharmacists would control sales. As word of the possible restrictions has spread, critics have stepped up a campaign to try to persuade the FDA to approve the application without restrictions.

Read more.