Teenagers across the country are being wrongly denied Plan B by pharmacists who are apparently terrible at their job, according to a new study.
Pharmacists are either blatantly lying or they don't know that it's perfectly legal for girls 17 or older to buy the drug over the counter. Either way, they should be ashamed. For the study, researchers posing as 17-year-olds called 943 commercial pharmacies in five states. In cases when the pharmacists admitted Plan B was available, they told the callers they couldn't buy the contraception under any circumstances and quickly hung up on them. Teens may have had better luck had they shown up at the pharmacies in person, but a denial over the phone would certainly dissuade them from doing so.
I wrote about the FDA's wrong-headed decision to not allow girls younger than 17 to buy the drug without a prescription in December. The new study is even worse news, especially because the misinformation is doled out more often in low-income neighborhoods where pregnancy rates are higher, and where girls need help staying in school and avoiding teenage pregnancy. Nearly 24 percent of the low-income neighborhood pharmacies lied to or misinformed girls about their legal access to Plan B, compared to 14.6 percent in other neighborhoods.