Korman wrote that “even with eyes shut to the motivation for the secretary’s decision, the reasons she provided are so unpersuasive as to call into question her good faith.”
The judge ruled that females of all ages be given unfettered access to the Plan B One-Step product but left it up to the FDA to decide whether to continue to restrict access to two-pill generic products, which require girls to take the pills 12 hours apart.
The FDA declined to comment on the decision, saying it was an “ongoing legal matter for the agency.” Teva Pharmaceuticals, which manufactures One-Step, said in a statement that company officials “received the Court’s decision and are currently reviewing it.”
While providing easier access to emergency contraception will likely increase its use by women and teens, One-Step’s $50 price could still present a barrier for teens and low-income women. Insurance plans typically don’t cover over-the-counter products, and the Obama administration has indicated that emergency contraception, even by prescription, doesn’t fall into the category of contraception that the federal Affordable Care Act mandates must be covered without any co-payments.
The federal government is expected to release its final rules for coverage of birth control methods such as oral contraception and intrauterine devices within the next few weeks.
“We’re worried that the cost might be too much for those under age 17,” said Dr. Cora Collette Breuner, a University of Washington pediatrician who co-authored an American Academy of Pediatrics 2012 position paper that supported lifting the restrictions on emergency contraception. “We’ve won the battle but we don’t want to lose the war.”