If you’re above 176 lbs, your morning after some irresponsible lovin’ may be a little different from the woman who is under 176 lbs. According to Mother Jones, HRA Pharma, the company the manufactures the European version of Plan B, called Norlevo has revised its packaging to indicate that the pregnancy prevention medication is not always effective for women over 165 pounds and doesn’t work at all for women who weigh more than 176 pounds. Well, count me and a considerable number of American women…out.
Data for the years 2007 to 2010 show the average weight of American women 20 years and older is 166.2 pounds—greater than the weight at which emergency contraceptive pills begin to lose their effectiveness. The average weight Black women aged 20 to 39 is 186 pounds, well above the weight at which these pills are completely ineffective. A CDC survey published in February, found that 5.8 million American women used emergency contraceptive pills from 2006 to 2010. That means the little pill many women relied on the morning after, did nothing.
Popular pills like Plan B One-Step, Next Choice One Dose, and My Way and a number of generic two-pill emergency contraceptives, all have dosage and chemical makeup similar, if not identical to the European drug, Norlevo. The contraceptive pill uses a compound called, levonorgestrel to prevent pregnancies and these are the most effective morning-after pills available without a prescription. Plan B One-Step, which retails for $50, is the only emergency contraceptive drug in the United States available to women of all ages without a prescription.
While the powers that be are changing the label on Norlevo in European countries in 2014, America hasn’t made any strides in making those edits. It’s being reported that American manufacturers do not currently advise American customers of weight limits for levonorgestrel-based emergency contraceptives. Apparently, the Food and Drug Administration prohibits generic drug manufacturers from changing product information, unless the brand name manufacturer makes a change, so companies that manufacture generic versions of Plan B One-Step cannot update their packaging information unless Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, the exclusive manufacturer of Plan B One-Step, acts first. However, the FDA has proposed a rule change that would allow generic manufacturers to update drug information independently.