Pharmacies limit emergency contraceptives; demand surges after overturning of Roe v. Wade

Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 7:11 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 30, 2022 at 8:34 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Major pharmacies are seeing a surge in demand for emergency contraceptives after Friday’s historic overturning of Roe v. Wade.

The increase has led to stores putting restrictions on morning-after pills. Rite Aid is now limiting purchases to three per customer.

CVS also had restrictions in place this week but removed the in-store purchase limit as sales have reportedly returned to normal. Amazon is limiting purchases of Plan B to 3 per week. However, a generic version of the morning-after pill called My Choice can be purchased up 30 times.

Walgreens has not placed limits on emergency contraceptives. Still, Dr. Anna Baur, a general gynecologist at Henrico Doctors’ Hospital, said she’s worried that panic buying could mean limited access to the pills.

“A few patients mentioning getting a stash now so that they can be prepared for whatever the future holds,” Dr. Baur said.

She said she’s seen an increase in appointments since the Supreme Court’s ruling.

“I think, you know, that it is concerning, and that they’re women who need it, and that there is a short time period that these pills are effective and to ensure that women who need them and need them now have access to them,” Dr. Baur said.

More of her patients are showing interest in long-term contraceptives like Nexplanon and IUDs. While over-the-counter morning-after pills are limited, Baur said prescriptions are available.

“It’s called Ella or Ulipristal, and that is a slightly different medication. It works a little bit differently, but in a similar way,” she said.

She also mentioned copper IUDs as another option for emergency contraception.

As stores are likely to keep rationing their supply to keep up with demand, Dr. Baur recommends knowing all the options.

“Talk to your provider about what you’re on. Do some research and figure out what you’re on, what that is doing for you, and what else is out there that is available to you right now,” Dr. Baur said.

Some private pharmacies we spoke with said they are not limiting emergency contraceptives but are prepared to do so if there’s an increase in demand.

Copyright 2022 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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