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GUTTMACHER PRESIDENT HONORED FOR PIVOTAL ROLE IN BRINGING EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION TO THE UNITED STATES
The International Consortium for Emergency Contraception (ICEC) today honors Dr. Sharon Camp for her role in bringing “the morning-after pill,” also known as emergency contraception, into the mainstream of women’s health care worldwide. She organized the ICEC over a decade ago, and subsequently established Women’s Capital Corporation, which brought Plan B emergency contraception to American and Canadian women and filed the application to take the product off prescription in both countries.
Ten years ago, emergency contraception was one of medicine’s best kept secrets. Today, 15 manufacturers worldwide produce emergency contraceptive pills, and products are marketed in more than 100 countries. Plan B has been available in the United States by prescription since it won FDA approval in 1999; last month, the FDA approved over-the-counter availability for women aged 18 and older.
“Emergency contraception is more effective the sooner it is used, so it is critical that women are able to get it quickly, even on weekends and holidays,” says Dr. Sharon Camp, president and CEO of the Guttmacher Institute. “The FDA’s recent decision to allow women older than 18 to obtain emergency contraception without a prescription is a huge step in the right direction. The next step is to ensure that more women know about the method, how it works and where to get it, so they can avoid an unwanted pregnancy if their regular contraceptive method fails or they have unprotected sex.”
Emergency contraception consists of the same hormone (levonorgestral) found in ordinary birth control pills. When taken in a concentrated dosage within 72 hours after unprotected intercourse, this drug can prevent a pregnancy from occurring. Emergency contraception is not “the abortion pill” (mifepristone or RU-486) and will not affect an established pregnancy.