Men and emergency contraception: The saga continues

The good news: Dudes are totally allowed to buy emergency contraception! The bad news: Some pharmacies still haven't gotten the memo.

In the summer of 2012, researchers at Columbia University in New York City did some secret shopper research. They sent guys aged 19-28 into nearly every pharmacy in Washington Heights, East Harlem, and the Upper East Side—158 pharmacies in all. The guys told the pharmacist they wanted to buy emergency contraception (a.k.a. Plan B, the morning after pill, etc.) for a partner “because the condom broke.”

In stock, but sometimes not for sale (to guys, anyway)

The good news is that most pharmacies had Plan B One-Step or a generic equivalent in stock—only 5% did not. The bad news is that one in seven pharmacists wouldn’t sell it to a man. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: it’s totally legal to sell EC to men. Now, this study happened before EC moved from the pharmacy counter to the aisles of the store—so we like to think that if this research happened today, they’d find that any guy would be able to easily purchase Plan B One-Step or a generic equivalent.

Dollars and cents

Here’s what hasn’t changed much since 2012: the cost of EC pills. In this study, the average cost was between $45 and $50, and that’s held steady over time. Generic pills are usually $35 to $45.

There is some good news: You can order a generic emergency contraceptive called AfterPill online for $20 plus shipping. But beware: it’s not shipped fast enough for “I need this right now” situations. So if you’re going for the AfterPill, make sure you get it before you need it.

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