Counter the Preven® Prevention
Wal-Mart has instituted a corporate policy prohibiting its stores from selling Preven, ® an emergency contraception product currently available in the United States. The second largest pharmacy chain in the country, Wal- Mart, sent a memo to its pharmacists instructing them not to stock, order or dispense Preven. ® Using regular birth control pills to prevent pregnancy up to 72 hours after unprotected intercourse has been possible for many years, but few clinicians told women about the option. Despite the fact that the Food & Drug Administration issued a statement declaring emergency contraceptive pills to be safe and effective, they have not been widely available in this country.
Women's health advocates spoke out about the need for a dedicated product that would be easier to prescribe and use. Last fall, a small company introduced Prevenf a pre-packaged combinationv of hormonal pills, as the first U.S. contraceptive product labeled specifically for use after sex, with instructions for women on this use. It is available in this country only by prescription. Wal-Mart's policy does not prohibit its pharmacists from filling emergency contraception prescriptions if clinicians write them to be filled with regular birth control pills, but the exclusion of the dedicated product is certain to reduce women's access to this important reproductive health option.
Planned Parenthood of New York City (PPNYC) has launched an email campaign to urge Wal-Mart to change its policy. To urge Wal-Mart to start stocking Preven® write to the President of Wal-Mart at firstname.lastname@example.org. PPNYC is trying to track the number of messages sent, so please also send a copy of your email to them at takeaction@ ppnyc.org