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Emergency contraceptive sold in Shippensburg University's vending machine


February 8, 2012 - Washington

The morning-after pills, which are otherwise not available on drug store shelves, can easily be bought by college students at Shippensburg University through a vending machine at the student health centre.

The vending machines will hand out a single dose of emergency contraceptive for 25-dollar, and the university won't profit from the sales.

"The machine is really used as much for privacy as anything else," CBS News quoted Dr. Roger Serr, vice president of student affairs at the university, as saying.

Serr said the machine was installed at the request of the student association, and a survey found 85 percent of students supported it.

According to the Shippensburg website, apart from the contraceptives, the machine also contains cold lozenges, cough drops, condoms, and pregnancy tests.

Plan B One-Step is a single pill that contains a higher dose of the female progestin hormone that is found in regular birth control pills.

Taking it within 72 hours of sex can cut the chances of pregnancy by up to 89 percent, but works best within 24 hours.

There are two other emergency contraception pills, a generic version similar to Plan B named Next Choice and a prescription-only pill named ella.

However, if a woman is already pregnant, then the pill has no effect.

The pill is currently available without a prescription for those 17 and older who show proper identification to a pharmacist.

In December, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius nixed an FDA decision that would have allowed the pills to be sold over-the-counter in condom aisles, saying, "I do not believe enough data were presented to support the application to make Plan B One-Step available over-the-counter for all girls of reproductive age," HealthPop reported.

Jessica Sheets Pika, spokeswoman for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned pregnancy, said that "if the health center is manned 24/7, that sounds like it's a sufficient protection.

"If there's a chance that people under 17 are able to access it, that's a problem," she added.

ANI

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