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WASHINGTON - An advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration voted this week to recommend that a "morning after" birth control pill be sold over the counter, which would make it easier for consumers to purchase.
The drug, marketed under the brand name Plan B by Barr Laboratories of Woodcliff Lakes, N.J., offers a higher dose of hormones than a regular birth control pill and, if taken within 24 hours of unprotected sex, can prevent 95 percent of pregnancies, according to the manufacturer.
According to news reports, the FDA normally follows the recommendations of its advisory committees. The agency has said that it wants to switch more prescription medicines to over-the-counter status, like it did last year with Claritin from Schering-Plough. The FDA is expected to make a final decision on the sales status of Plan B within the next few months.