Military hospitals in Pacific weigh Plan B plans
Stars and Stripes August 27, 2006
SEOUL — Officials at two U.S. military hospitals in the Pacific say they’re not going to offer the morning-after pill without a prescription, even though the Food and Drug Administration ruled it legal Thursday.
The pill, called Plan B, has been available only by prescription since 1999.
Hospital officials at Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan sent an e-mail message to Stars and Stripes that read, in part, “no we do not carry (Plan B) and no we do not plan on carrying” it.
Misawa base officials said Friday the base does not carry Plan B contraceptive and, without elaborating, added, “There is not a plan to carry it in the future.”
While the clinic at Camp Zama, Japan, carries the pill, said U.S. Army Japan spokeswoman Maj. Martha Brooks, “We do not anticipate providing this as an over-the-counter medication.”
An official with the medical facility on Yokota Air Base in Japan confirmed Plan B is available by prescription but said there are no over-the-counter sales for medications at the pharmacy.
And in Seoul, a 121st General Hospital spokesman confirmed the pharmacy carries Plan B but was unable to comment on future sales.
On Okinawa, the Navy’s hospital is discussing whether to carry the pill. U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa spokesman Brian Davis said officials are awaiting word whether hospitals in the region will be authorized to carry the morning-after pill once it becomes an over-the-counter drug.
Military hospitals and clinics are not obligated to carry over-the-counter drugs but may choose to do so, a Pentagon official told Stripes on Thursday.
Plan B is available at about half of U.S. military hospitals and clinics as a prescription drug, the official said. The drug will continue to be available on a prescription-only basis until the drug’s manufacturer begins marketing it over the counter, the official said.
Medical officials in Europe told Stripes on Thursday that decisions on which drugs they stock and how they are dispensed are made by the Department of Defense Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee.
According to news reports, the pills must be sold from behind the counter at pharmacies so officials can check photo identification.
NEX officials could not be reached Friday to discuss whether their stores would carry the pill. AAFES and Marine Corps Exchange officials contacted in the U.S. said they had not yet made a decision on carrying the product.
Jeff Schogol, Allison Batdorff, Cindy Fisher, Vince Little and Jennifer Svan contributed to this report.