plan b

The FDA has decided not to take any action against Shippensburg University’s usage of Plan B vending machines. Plan B is an over-the-counter medication available without prescription for those 17 years old or older at pharmacies and drug stores around the nation. It’s meant to be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex. Last year, Shippensburg University came under fire because many felt that the vending machines would actually encourage students to have more sex.

“FDA looked at publicly available information about Shippensburg’s vending program and spoke with university and campus health officials and decided not to take any regulatory actions,” Erica V. Jefferson, a FDA spokeswoman, said in a statement made available to MSN News.

The vending machine that dispenses the Plan B pills, for $25, are located inside the health center. Only students and employees have access to the machines. Although the machines have been at Shippensburg for the last 3 years, it wasn’t widely known until it was made public to the media.

Officials from the University met with several campus interest groups, including alumni, trustees, the University Forum and Student Senate to discuss the vending machines, said Peter Gigliotti, director of communications for the university.

“Both the Student Senate and the University Forum passed resolutions that the medication should continue to be dispensed,” he said in an e-mail. University President Bill Ruud said last year the evaluation would also involve contacting other higher education institutions across the country about their dispensing methods. Gigliotti’s  research found Plan B available at institutions across the state and nation and is considered by experts in the field of college medicine to be part of the standard of care.

Although the vending machines are located in a public University, Shippensburg receives no outside funding for the program. “No state-supported or taxpayer-supported dollars are used for this service and students, as part of the support services offered by the university, have the opportunity to discuss Plan B and any important decisions in their lives with medical, pastoral or counseling staff,” Gigliotti said.

What do you think of the fact that this medication is available in a vending machine? Do you think the vending machine could possibly encourage unprotected sex because they can easily obtain Plan B, or is the University protecting its students from the possible consequences?

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