/publications/issue/2006/2006-04/2006-04-5412

PHARMACY CHAIN NOW CARRIES PLAN B

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Wal-Mart pharmacies throughout the United States are now carrying the emergency contraceptive Plan B, commonly referred to as the morning- after pill. The policy went into effect March 20. Up until last month, Wal-Mart was the only major pharmacy chain that refused to sell Plan B. The company currently is required to sell the contraceptive in Illinois and Massachusetts.

In February, the board that oversees Massachusetts pharmacies ruled that Wal-Mart stores in that state must fill Plan B prescriptions after 3 women filed lawsuits. Illinois has a similar law. "We expect more states to require us to sell emergency contraceptives in the months ahead," said Ron Chomiuk, vice president of pharmacy for Wal-Mart. "Because of this, and the fact that this is an FDA-approved product, we feel it is difficult to justify being the country's only major pharmacy chain not selling it."

The company still exercises its conscientious-objection policy that allows a pharmacist who does not feel comfortable selling Plan B to refer patients to another pharmacist or pharmacy.