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Rite Aid and Amazon Limit Emergency Contraceptive Purchases

Contraceptive pills may now only be purchased three per customer at some pharmacies.

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A photo of Plan B One-Step
A photo of Plan B One-Step
Photo: Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)

Pharmacy chains around the U.S have started to limit the amount of emergency contraceptive pills customers can purchase. This comes after the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court.

“Due to increased demand, at this time we are limiting the purchases of Plan B contraceptive pills to three per customer,” a Rite Aid representative told CNN. CVS originally limited the purchase of Plan B and Aftera across all CVS Pharmacy stores and its website CVS.com “to ensure equitable access and consistent supply on store shelves.” However, since then CVS has removed their purchase limit as “sales have dipped back to normal levels.”

A survey shows around one-fourth of American Women have apparently at some point in their lives used emergency contraception pills, as reported by NPR. Reproductive health companies and providers have observed a notable increase of sales of these pills after the Supreme Court announcement. Stix, a reproductive health brand, reported its morning-after pill sales surged by more than 600 percent in the 24 hours after Roe v. Wade’s overturning, according to the New York Times. Wisp, an online reproductive and sexual health provider, found a 3,000% surge in sale of its emergency contraceptive pills, according to CBS News.

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Emergency contraception is a form of birth control that can be used “if you had sex without using birth control or if your birth control method did not work,” according to the Office on Women’s Health. It is different to the abortion pill as emergency contraception pills do not work to stop your pregnancy. The emergency contraceptive pill works by preventing or delaying ovulation, and less commonly may prevent fertilization of the egg by sperm if ovulation has already happened.

Limits for the pills are in place not just at Rite Aid and CVS. A Walmart spokesperson told ABC News that “many of [the company’s] products have online purchase limits in place,” but did not specify what this means for morning-after pills. Walgreens, however, has said it has “no plans at this time” to put restrictions on the sale of morning-after pills. However, when confirming this ourselves by attempting to purchase Plan B online, we got a pop up stating “Plan B One-Step Emergency Contraceptive is not available at this time and has been removed from your cart.” Availability might differ in physical stores.

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Amazon is the latest to place a limit on the amount emergency contraceptive pills. Customers can only buy three units of Plan B on the website. However, other contraceptive pills listed on the site, like MyChoice, still allows users to buy a larger quantity.

The list of pharmacies limiting purchase of the pill may grow in the future as well, but we will update that list as pharmacy policies come in.

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Update 6/24/2022, 2:55 p.m ET, This post has been updated to include CVS’ removal of their limit