Is emergency contraception new?
No. The first study of using high doses of oral contraceptives as a post-sex form of contraception was in 1967, not long after the oral contraceptive was invented. The approach used in Plan B was invented in 1975, and by the 1980s became a standard treatment for rape victims and a widely used form of postcoital contraception. Prior to 1999 in the United States, emergency contraception was an “off label” use of oral contraceptives. Physicians were aware of the proper way to use the drugs for emergnecy contraception, but the drugs were only approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for ordinary oral contraceptive use. Physicians are allowed to prescribe a drug for an “off label” use, but drug companies aren’t allowed to market the drug for that purpose. When FDA regulations changed in 1997, a consortium was organized to obtain FDA approval to market emergency contraception on a prescription basis. Two years later, this approval was obtained. Barr Laboratories manuf