New generic morning after pill is approved

WASHINGTON (BP) -- A new, generic version of the "morning-after" pill -- which can cause abortions -- will soon be available in stores across the United States.

Watson Pharmaceuticals announced July 13 it immediately will begin shipping its generic drug, Next Choice One Dose, the Associated Press reported. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved its application to market a generic version of Plan B One-Step, Watson said. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries manufactures Plan B One-Step.

It is the second generic version of the morning-after pill to be approved. The first one (Next Choice) was FDA-approved in 2009.

The "morning-after" pill, also known as emergency contraception, is basically a heavier dose of birth control pills. There are two-step versions (Plan B and Next Choice) and one-step versions (Plan B One-Step and now Next Choice One Dose).

Under the two-part regimen, a woman takes a pill within 72 hours of sexual intercourse and another dose 12 hours later. The one-step version is taken in a single dose within 72 hours.

The "morning-after" pill can restrict ovulation in a woman or prevent fertilization, but it also can block implantation of the embryo in the uterine wall. The latter effect causes an abortion, pro-life advocates point out.

Watson's announcement is an acknowledgment it believes there is money to be made in the "morning-after" pill industry. American sales of Plan B One-Step reached $88 million from June 2011 to May 2012, according to Watson.

Watson, which is based in New Jersey, also markets "ella," a drug the FDA has approved as emergency contraception. Pro-lifers, however, describe "ella" as more like the abortion drug RU 486 because it can destroy an embryo already implanted in the mother's womb.


Compiled by Tom Strode, Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press.