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On Plan B, educate consumers, don’t limit access

Turning back the clock and restricting access to over-the-counter Plan B, as suggested in a Dec. 4 response to the article “Plan B less effective in overweight women,” is shortsighted and misses the point of the historic decision to put Plan B on store shelves (“European warning raises question on access to Plan B,” Letters). Every effort should be made to educate consumers about Plan B without limiting their access to time-sensitive medication, particularly since Plan B is most effective when taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex, which may not align with pharmacy hours.

New information about Plan B warrants careful review by the Food and Drug Administration, and relevant health information should be included on the labeling. This is not the first time over-the-counter medications have presented consumer education challenges, as illustrated by the lengthy warnings on the bottles of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. In each case, a response to the limitations of a particular medication should be focused on increasing education.

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Instead of limiting access, we must work to ensure that women have all of the information and options they need in order to decide what is best for them.

Dr. Atsuko Koyama

Allston

The writer is a fellow in pediatric emergency medicine at Boston Medical Center.

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