by Steven Ertelt
August 22, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The maker of the morning after pill is projecting record sales of the drug by the time 2007 is complete. Barr Pharmaceuticals estimates it will likely have sold about $80 million worth of its Plan B drug by the end of the year — almost double the total of 2006 and eight times as much as its 2004 figures.
Sales of the pills, which can cause an abortion in limited circumstances, got a boost last year when the Food and Drug Administration approved it for over the counter sales.
Bruce Downey, Barr’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement that the company has "experienced strong performance in the U.S. proprietary business from our Plan B(R) emergency contraceptive."
The company’s proprietary product sales were $102 million for the second quarter of 2007, compared to $97 million in the prior year period. For the second quarter, the $5 million increase in proprietary sales was primarily attributable to higher sales of the morning after pill, it said.
Despite the sales, many pro-life groups remain opposed to the drug and the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America are still pursuing a lawsuit against the FDA seeking to reverse the over the counter ruling.
Wendy Wright, the president of Concerned Women for America, told LifeNews.com that the high use may be a result of minors getting friends and family to buy the drug for them.
Under the FDA rules, anyone under the age of 18 is not supposed to purchase or use the drug without a prescription.
"Reports of increased sales of the Plan B morning-after pill may indicate that women are using the drug multiple times and that minors are relying on it," Wright said.
"The FDA’s controversial approval opened the door for this abuse, even though the FDA has not found that the morning-after pill can be used safely multiple times or by a minor without a doctor’s oversight," she added.
"Since the FDA made the drug easy to get, no one is keeping record of whether women are using this high-dose drug time and time again," Wright added.
Though Barr is making considerable profits, abortion advocates still say the drug is not yet readily available to everyone — something they hope to change.
"Many women still don’t know it’s available," NARAL’s president, Nancy Keenan, told AP. "There’s a lot of education that needs to be done."
Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, told AP the abortion business continues to believe that the Plan B drug will lead to a drop in unintended pregnancies.
However, research and reports show that’s not happening.
Dr. Joseph Stanford, associate professor of family and preventive medicine at the University of Utah School of Medicine, says studies he and fellow researchers have done show a lower effectiveness rate than the 89 percent Barr Laboratories claims.
"We did more a precise meta-analysis that shows it’s effective only 72 percent of the time, and even that number is optimistic," he indicated.
He also told the newspaper that studies from Europe, China and the United States show that the morning after pill does not reduce abortions.
In fact, figures from Scotland show that a decision to sell the morning after pill over the counter resulted in an increase in the number of abortions.
In the past five years since the morning-after pill was made available over-the-counter, hundreds of thousands of women have used it. But the Scotland government reported 13,081 abortions in 2006, up from 12,603 the previous year — an increase of nearly 3.8 percent.
Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, and South Dakota have laws that specifically allow pharmacists to refuse to dispense drugs like the morning after pill and other state legislatures may consider similar conscience clauses next year.