Updated Jun 29, 2022 - Economy & Business

Amazon, Walmart, Rite Aid limit Plan B "morning after pill" purchases

Plan B box
Some retailers have started to place purchasing limits on emergency contraceptives. Photo: Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Some of the nation’s largest pharmacy chains have started limiting purchases of Plan B and other emergency contraception because of increased demand after Friday's Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

The big picture: Commonly called the "morning-after pill" and available without a prescription under the Plan B brand, the pills are different from medication abortion pills, which also are growing in demand.

  • Abortion pills, also called Plan C, require a prescription and can be used in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy to terminate it.
  • Emergency contraception pills, as well as IUDs, reduce the chance of pregnancy after unprotected sex, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said on its website.

Driving the news: Experts are watching for what the health ramifications are of trigger bans and whether they might ban emergency contraception and other devices or procedures like IUDs or IVF, Axios’ Tina Reed said during Monday’s Axios Today podcast.

Emergency contraception purchase limits

Details: Walmart, CVS and Rite Aid were among the retailers capping purchases of emergency contraception Tuesday.

What they’re saying: “Many of our products have online purchase limits in place,” Walmart said in a statement to Axios. “During times of fluctuating demand, these limits may change.”

  • "Due to increased demand, at this time we are limiting purchases of Plan B contraceptive pills to three per customer," Rite Aid spokesperson Terri Hickey said in a statement to Axios.
  • Earlier in the week, CVS said it had placed a temporary purchase limit on tests to “ensure equitable access and consistent supply on store shelves."
  • CVS said in an updated statement shared with Axios that it was in “the process of removing the purchase limits" and that it continued to "have ample supply of emergency contraceptives to meet customer needs."
Walgreens sells out of Plan B, Take Action pills online

State of play: Walgreens temporarily sold out of Plan B for shipping, Walgreens spokesperson Emily Hartwig-Mekstan confirmed to Axios Tuesday. The pills were available for shipping again Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile, the chain does not have purchase limits in place, Hartwig-Mekstan said in a statement.

  • “Walgreens is still able to meet demand in-store, including leveraging digital-first solutions like curbside pickup,” Hartwig-Mekstan said. “At this time, we are working to restock online inventory for ship-to-home.”
Mark Cuban pharmacy has emergency contraceptives at a discount

Details: Mark Cuban’s online pharmacy Cost Plus Drug Company has 14 types of birth control and emergency contraceptives on its website that are available with a prescription.

Of note: While Cuban’s pharmacy doesn’t accept insurance, the website claims its "prices are less than what you would pay when using your insurance at a typical pharmacy."

  • The site has a 15% markup of manufacturing costs, plus a $3 pharmacy handling fee and a $5 shipping fee, according to Fortune.
Amazon limits how many Plan B pills you can buy

Amazon said Tuesday it will limit the sale of emergency contraceptive pills amid spiking demand after the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Details: The company told Axios it has a temporary quantity limit of three units per week on emergency contraceptive products such as Plan B.

  • CNBC found that the Plan B pill had a cap of three products per shopper. But a listing for the My Choice drug allowed 30 units per shopper.

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Editor's note: This article was updated to include information from Amazon and updated information from CVS.

Herb Scribner contributed to this report

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