Monday, 9:58 AM
State orders Wal-Mart to sell Plan B contraceptive
Wal-Mart said today it plans to start stocking and selling the emergency contraception drug Plan B at its 44 Massachusetts pharmacies after receiving a directive from state regulators.
The retailer said it is also giving serious thought to carrying the drug at all of its 3,700 pharmacies nationwide. The only other state where Wal-Mart sells the so-called morning after pill is Illinois, where a state law requires it. Elsewhere, Wal-Mart has refused to stock the drug for undisclosed "business reasons."
The state Board of Registration in Pharmacy voted unanimously this morning to require Wal-Mart to stock and dispense Plan B, a high dose of hormones that women can take three to five days after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy.
The pharmacy board cited a regulation requiring all pharmacies to dispense "commonly prescribed medications in accordance with the usual needs of the community."
Wal-Mart had indicated it would comply with any directive of the board and a company spokesman confirmed that after the board's vote. The board acted on a complaint from three women who brought a prescription for Plan B to Wal-Mart pharmacies in Quincy and Lynn and were turned away. The women are also suing Wal-Mart in state court.
Melissa Kogut, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, said she is hopeful Wal-Mart will start carrying the morning-after pill nationwide. "What's happening here in Massachusetts is really a turning point," she said.
By Bruce Mohl