Rite Aid runs out of Plan B as students return to campus

Customers at the New Mexico Avenue Rite Aid were instructed to once again ask pharmacists for Plan B, an emergency contraceptive that is typically used after another form of birth control fails or no birth control is used, over the weekend of Sept.14 and 15, after stocks of the over-the-counter contraceptive ran out.

A sign on the shelf where Plan B was supposed to be said, “Please see cashier, we may have this item in stock.”

The New Mexico Avenue Rite Aid sold out of the over-the-counter Plan B, which included the newest federal warning label, Pharmacy Manager Karen Leventhal said on Sept. 18.

The federal warning label changed after The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit lifted the age restriction, which limited access to Plan B to girls 17 and older, on June 5 and made Plan B and Plan B One-Step available on shelves, according to court documents.

The box no longer indicates that Plan B is intended for women 17 and older and in its place states that the medication is available over the counter. The federal warning label still indicates that Plan B is not intended to be used as regular birth control and should be taken within the first 72 hours after unprotected sex.

Rite Aid had several packages of Plan B behind the counter that could not be placed on the shelves due to their outdated packaging, Leventhal said. The pharmacy sold some of the Plan B that had the old packaging, she said.

The medication itself is identical whether the packaging is old or new, Leventhal said.

Rite Aid was not breaking the law over the weekend. The pharmacy receives shipments once a week, Leventhal said. And, she has ordered an overflow stock of 20 packages of Plan B, she added.

Two packages of Plan B were available on Rite Aid’s shelves as of Sept. 18.

The medication is kept in a high theft container because it is priced at $49.99 and not because the pharmacy is aware of ongoing theft, Leventhal said. The pharmacy and purchase counters can open the containers at checkout, she said.

Customers can save $10 on Plan B by downloading a coupon from the medication’s website.

Sales of Plan B have not increased, but the sales have been linked to the calendar of American University, the closest college to the pharmacy, Leventhal said.

“We can tell when it’s a three-day weekend and finals,” Leventhal said.IMG_2397

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