Plan-B legislation wins approval in New York
The New York Senate gave legislative approval for pharmacists to dispense Plan-B without a physician's visit or prescription, regardless of a patient's age.
Before the drug can be sold, however, Governor George Pataki must sign it into law. Should the governor veto the bill, the move could be subject to a legislative override attempt.
"We are pleased," with the approval of the New York legislation, said Carol Cox, a spokeswoman for Barr Laboratories, which makes Plan B. "But we still have to wait and see if Governor Pataki signs it."
Currently, seven other states -- Alaska, California, Hawaii, Maine, New Mexico, Washington and New Hampshire -- allow pharmacists to dispense emergency birth control without a prescription.
The FDA's reproductive health advisory committee recommended making Plan B available without a prescription for women over the age of 16 in January, but the agency has yet to issue an official ruling on the matter.
Over-the-counter sale of Plan B has become contentious issue in the confirmation process of President Bush's pick of Acting Commissioner Lester Crawford to head the FDA.
Two Democratic U.S. Senators – Patty Murray of Washington and Hillary Clinton of New York – blocked a full senate vote on Acting Commissioner Lester Crawford earlier this month after a Senate panel voted to send his nomination to the floor.
Barr company officials have said in the past that they would launch an aggressive state-by-state effort to allow easier access if their FDA application fails.