Intended for healthcare professionals


Emergency contraception

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: (Published 14 September 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:560
  1. Anna Glasier (, director
  1. Lothian Primary Care NHS Trust, Edinburgh EH4 1NL

    Is it worth all the fuss?

    Emergency contraception can prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex, but it can also cost you your job. In 2005 an assistant commissioner resigned from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States after a decision to make emergency contraception available off prescription was postponed indefinitely, despite two committees recommending it (after three years' delay the FDA has recently approved over the counter sales, with restrictions, of the emergency contraceptive Plan B).1 In 2006 two editors of the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) were fired, partly because they published an article about access to emergency contraception in Canadian pharmacies.2 Emergency contraception has been described as “the latest battleground in an ideologically divided America.”3 It has always been a battleground, but is it worth all the fuss?

    First used in the early 1970s, emergency contraception was a well kept secret until the late 1990s. At this time interest in this form of contraception exploded and considerable efforts were made to …

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