Pharmacy giants CVS and Rite Aid have restricted sales of ‘morning after’ pills to three per woman as demand spirals after the Roe v Wade decision — and Walgreens has sold out of the drugs that it can put up for delivery.
CVS — America’s biggest pharmacy chain — said it still had enough of the pills that can prevent a pregnancy in stock, but wanted to ensure ‘equitable access’.
The new guidelines affect Plan B pills, which are sold for $49.99 each, and the Aftera brand, retailed at $39.99.
Rite Aid — which has more than 2,500 pharmacies across northern states — said ‘increased demand’ forced it to cap sales of Plan B and Option 2, sold at $32.99.
The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade — which protected abortion in the constitution — has sparked panic nationwide, with many women now rushing to stock up on pills.
A justice has suggested they could also re-examine rulings on contraception, although at present there is no suggestion that any state will block the sale of ‘morning after’ pills.
The above screen capture from the CVS website shows they are now limiting orders of ‘morning after’ pill Aftera to three per person. They are also limited for Plan B sales
Rite Aid has followed suit, also limiting sales of Plan B medication to three per person
It has done this with both the Plan B and Option 2 (Pictured) brands
Walgreens has sold out of ‘morning after’ pills for delivery. It says there are still enough in store and that it is working to re-fill its warehouses as soon as possible
Morning after pills are a type of emergency contraception reserved for after unprotected sex or as a last resort when other devices — like condoms — have failed.
They are available over the counter, with one pill needing to be taken within 72 hours of intercourse in order to stop a pregnancy.
It works by preventing ovulation or altering the lining of the womb to stop an egg becoming implanted.
The pills are about 87 percent effective, manufacturer data shows.
Biden faces calls to set up abortion clinics on federal lands
Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are both calling for Democrats to take extreme measures to protect abortion rights after the reversal of Roe vs. Wade, but Vice President Kamala Harris signaled the Biden administration is not considering such action at the moment.
Both Warren and Ocasio-Cortez, Democrats from Massachusetts and New York respectively, lobbied for the administration to set up what they called ’emergency abortion clinics’ on federal lands.
Warren, speaking on ABC’s This Week, said Biden should ‘make abortion as available as possible with the tools he has, including medication abortion, including using federal lands as a place where abortions can occur.’
Ocasio-Cortez echoed these requests at a rally in New York City’s Union Square, calling federal abortion clinics ‘the babiest of baby steps.’
However, when asked about the possibility of doing so, Vice President Harris told CNN’s Dana Bash that it was unlikely.
They differ from abortion pills — such as Mifeprex — which require a prescription and involve taking two different pills ten weeks apart.
Many women may only buy one packet of ‘morning after’ pills at a time, with those who purchase more looking to stock up.
CVS put the limit in place on Saturday, and Rite Aid followed suit on Monday.
A spokeswoman for CVS said they saw a ‘sharp increase’ in sales immediately after the ruling, triggering the limit.
But now as sales have ‘returned to normal’ they are in the process of removing the restriction.
They added: ‘We continue to have ample supply of emergency contraceptives to meet customer needs.’
Rite Aid also has Plan B pills available for $47.49 each and Option 2 pills for $32.99 for one.
Walgreens said it was still able to meet ‘in store demand’ and was ‘working’ to re-stock its online inventory. The pharmacy did not say when it sold out of the pills for home delivery.
Other pharmacies — including Walmart — are yet to put limits on the sale of ‘morning after’ pills in place.
It comes as women hurriedly stockpile abortion pills and contraception over fears that access could be banned.
Last week the court’s longest serving justice Clarence Thomas warned that they could ‘reconsider’ rulings on access to contraception suggesting the right to the ‘morning after’ pill could also be at risk.
This has sparked panic in many circles, with women now hurrying to restock.
In the days since Roe v Wade was overturned some clinics say their appointments have spiked four-fold since the Roe v Wade ruling.
Abortion organization Planned Parenthood Southeast, in Atlanta, Georgia, also says they have faced a surge in women wanting to know how many pills are available.
But amid the rush many are being urged not to completely ‘clear the shelves’ of abortion pills to ensure they remain available for women who need them right now.
It is expected that abortion pills will become the focus of many legal battles in the states to outlaw abortion.
So far, 13 states have already imposed new laws, with Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana and Missouri completely banning them with no exceptions for rape or incest.
In a statement on its website, Just The Pill said it is ‘undaunted by the Supreme Court decision and will continue to bring care to the people who most need it. We are here for you.
‘You can still get care from us in Minnesota, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado. Let us know if you need help with travel arrangements and costs.’
Medication abortion is still authorized by the Food and Drug Administration for the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.
It requires a woman takes two drugs 24 to 48 hours apart to cause contractions similar to a miscarriage which expels the fetus, causing heavy bleeding.
Medication is less expensive and invasive and the pills can be mailed to your home, meaning it is a common choice for women choosing to carry out an abortion.