"Plan B®'s availability over the counter is a huge victory for women's health, but it will take more work to ensure that women know about, and have access to, this safe, effective form of birth control and don't encounter delays or harassment at their local pharmacy," said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.
While I was in Meijer today filling a prescription, I asked the pharmacist if they kept Plan B in stock. The young blond in the white coat looked at me like a confused puppy.
"According to the computer it's an over the counter drug." She blinked innocently.
"Yes it is, for women over 18. Do you have it?"
"Um, let me look." The Blonde says as she runs behind the shelves to hide. Then a slightly older woman comes out to take over.
"I'm sorry. we don't have it." (Big Meijer smile)
"Can you order some in?" (Long Pause.)
"Um, well, see, our Meijer corporate has a contract with this one wholesaler, and we can only carry what they have, and Um, well, see, they don't give it to us."
"Can you request it?"
"They don't sell it."
"Could you ask them to?"
"Um, well, I suppose I could call corporate and ask them to ask. You should probably get it somewhere else though."
"Oh, I don't need it. I had my tubes tied years ago. I'm just asking so that I can report the information to NARAL and Planned Parenthood."
"What's NARAL?" She asked.
I looked at the three women standing there in their fancy white pharmacy coats, staring at me and I could not believe my ears.
(What's NARAL???? And THESE women fill our prescriptions??? What happened to the T.V. image of the wise and trusted Pharmasist we should go to with all our medication related concerns??? )
"NARAL is a national women's rights organization, but maybe you should just give me the name and number of someone in corporate."
"Um, well, No, I can't, but I could take your name and number and have them call you."
"Well, as a matter of privacy, it would be better if I called them. I mean, It's not that I care if you have my name, But, I think a lot of women in need of this medication might be a bit intimidated about the lack of anonymity. So, why don't you give me the numbers for corporate and wholesale, and let me call them. Then you won't have to bother."
"Oh, um, well, I can't do that." .
"Are you sure? "
"I'm sorry. I will give them them your number though. We'll get back to you."
With the help of a friend at my local Planned Parenthood, we got on the phones and pushed back. The result: The district manager for Meijer pharmacies has assured me they will have Plan B available in all 27 stores in this district from now on, and they will instruct their technicians and pharmacists on the companies policy to dispense it without delay.
-Ain't it Amazing what a woman or two can do in twenty four hours.
What a Day, What a DAY!
Women are talking about this and taking action
The outspoken and adorable Bitch PhD has added her voice to the fray
Planned Parenthood's Ohio Action Network just sent an e-newsletter to all their supporters Here's a very informative post on the subject
Today my local paper, The Columbus Dispatch, ran an editorial about access to Plan B and told the story of a couple who were laughed at by the pharmasist at Walmart.
Even though Walmart had Plan B in stock, no one but the pharmasist on duty could dispense it, and he refused. The writer of the editorial stated: "Why does the pharmacist even need to be involved? The medicine is behind the counter only to ensure that those under 18 can not obtain it. Why not put this medicine in the cashier lane where they sell tobacco?"