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Court Cautions Feds on Morning-After Pill Exclusivity Deals

States that an exclusivity agreement “will only burden poor women”

Federal Court Issues Memorandum Addressing Obama’s Proposed Plan to Comply with Morning-After Pill Order

The Court has told the government in its Memorandum that undue delay will not be countenanced in compliance with the Court’s Order and that if the Obama administration enters into an exclusivity deal with the pharmaceutical company that it will “only burden poor women.” The Court indicated that it does not appear that the standards for exclusivity have been met.

Noting “the extraordinary efforts by the plaintiffs in pursuing,” the availability of emergency contraception, the Court stated that exclusivity “if given, will be nothing more than a reward to Teva for playing along with the defendants’ efforts to maintain their legally and scientifically unjustified restrictions on the marketing of … emergency contraceptives. It is the plaintiffs, rather than Teva, who are responsible for the outcome of this case, and it is they, and the women who benefited from their efforts, who deserve to be rewarded.”

Andrea Costello, Partnership for Civil Justice Fund Senior Staff Attorney and lead attorney for the National Women’s Liberation Plaintiffs, stated “The Court’s Memorandum paves the way for affordable emergency contraception to go on the market. We are ensuring that all women and girls have true, affordable access. We are monitoring the government’s compliance, and we will take appropriate action as necessary to ensure that emergency contraception is made truly available to all women and girls.”

“We believe this is an important victory in ensuring that the government truly complies with the Court’s order to make emergency contraceptives available to women and girls without restriction. Exclusive over-the-counter access to a single pharmaceutical company will allow for exorbitant monopoly prices, placing emergency contraception financially out of reach of millions of women and girls,” stated attorney Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund. “Imposing unjust financial barriers to access sacrifices the rights of millions of poor and young women solely to benefit a pharmaceutical company.”

“The feminist movement has fought for years to remove the restrictions on the Morning-After Pill to make it available to all. The government needs to act now to put it on the shelf where women need it – at any convenience store, just like aspirin or condoms and at a price we can afford,” said Annie Tummino, lead Plaintiff and Coordinator of National Women’s Liberation.

The Court’s Memorandum is available below.