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MA Pharmacy Board Rules on EC

Planned Parenthood Applauds MA Pharmacy Board Decision, Calls on Wal-Mart to Stock Emergency Contraception in All Its Stores



New York, NY Today, the Massachusetts Board of Pharmacy issued a decision on Wal-Mart's refusal to stock emergency contraception (EC), concluding that Wal-Mart is required to stock EC in its Massachusetts pharmacies. Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts (PPLM) applauded the decision and called on Wal-Mart to stock EC in all its stores nationwide.

"This is terrific news, but it is only a first step. Increased access to emergency contraception will reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and the need for abortion in Massachusetts," said Angus McQuilken, PPLM director of public relations and government affairs. "We urge Wal-Mart to follow through on its public commitment to review its national policy, and to overturn that policy. Women should never have to worry about whether their valid prescriptions will be filled at any Wal-Mart store."

The board's review of Wal-Mart's policies was prompted by a lawsuit filed last month by three Massachusetts women, Katrina McCarty, Julie Battel and Rebekah Gee, who were denied emergency contraception at Wal-Mart pharmacies in the Greater Boston area. Massachusetts regulations require licensed pharmacies to stock all commonly prescribed medications that meet the needs of the community.

"Prevention is key to avoiding unintended pregnancy, and access to contraception, including emergency contraception, is sound public health policy," said Karen Pearl, PPFA interim president. "No woman should be put at risk for unintended pregnancy. We urge Wal-Mart to reverse its longstanding policy and make EC available in all stores nationwide."

Experts estimate that wider access to EC could prevent up to 1.7 million unintended pregnancies and 800,000 abortions a year. Emergency contraception pills contain hormones that reduce the risk of pregnancy when started within 120 hours of unprotected intercourse. The sooner emergency contraception is administered after unprotected intercourse, the better it works, making timely access critically important.

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Contacts

PPFA Gustavo Suarez, 212-261-4339
PPLM Angus McQuilken 617-616-1689

Published: 02.14.06

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