Big News: FDA Approves 5 Day Emergency Contraceptive “ella”

Yesterday evening, the NY Times reported that the FDA has approved the drug “ella” in the United States. Ella is an emergency contraceptive pill that has a longer window of effectiveness than Plan B and its generics, which are most effective within 3 days following unprotected sex. Ella is highly effective at preventing pregnancy – largely by delaying ovulation – for up to 5 days following unprotected sex.

This ruling comes more than a year after a federal judge found that the FDA, back in 2006, had delayed making decisions about allowing Plan B to be sold over the counter, likely for reasons related to politics (pressure by the Bush administration) rather than science/medicine. The ruling allowed for Plan B and its generics to be made available over the counter to 17 year olds as well. (For more on that, read this NPR article).

Ella will be available only by prescription as the drug’s manufacturer apparently did not apply for/request over the counter availability.

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[NY Times]

About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at