LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – In the wake of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, women across the country are heading to pharmacies, stocking up on any brand of emergency contraceptive still on shelves.
For many, the fear is the popular “morning-after pill” will be hard to come by now that abortions are banned in some states – whether due to high demand for the form of birth control, or possible future restrictions on contraceptives.
Nicki Hilliard has seen this rush to shelves firsthand. A pharmacist herself and director of professional affairs for the Arkansas Pharmacists Association, she knows the high emotions following Roe V. Wade’s overturning sent many to stock up, worried another option may soon be taken away.
The solution? Limit how many boxes people can grab.
“They do that so that somebody doesn’t hoard them all,” Hilliard explained, “and so that there’s more available for the public.”
National pharmacy chains like CVS, Walmart, and Amazon have all rationed their stash of morning-after pills, some only allowing three per customer of the popular brand Plan B – others up to 6.
CVS as of Wednesday morning has lifted the cap, but other retailers say they will implement restrictions and take them away depending on supply.
Sales in Arkansas have spiked after rumors spread that Arkansas may soon look to ban the pills along with abortions, Hilliard says – that’s not the case.
“So-called Plan B contraceptive is just that, a contraceptive,” she said. “It prevents pregnancy, it doesn’t end a pregnancy.”
But while one option may be scarce, the Natural State is offering another – a new law that allows patients to get oral contraceptives prescribed from the pharmacists themselves, a new program now greenlit for providers to start their training.
In the meantime, Hilliard recommends being patient and leaving some stock on shelves for others. She also recommends talking with pharmacists if there are any lingering questions and to go over all birth control options.