Some of the nation’s biggest retailers are rationing over-the-counter emergency contraceptive pills as demand spikes following the Supreme Court ruling overturning a constitutional right to abortion.
CVS Health Corp. (NYS:CVS) , Walmart Inc. (NYS:WMT) and Rite Aid Corp. (NYS:RAD) were limiting purchases of the pills, which were in short supply or out of stock Monday morning on major retailer websites. CVS and Rite Aid were limiting purchases to three. Walmart had some pills available without limits, but only in cases where they wouldn’t ship until next month. Pills available this week were limited to four or six.
A CVS spokesman said that the company has implemented temporary purchase limits to ensure equitable access and that it has ample supply of the pills in stores and online. Rite Aid said it was limiting purchases due to increased demand. Walmart didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (NAS:WBA) , which also had a purchase limit on its website, said that the restriction was an error and that it would soon be corrected. A spokesman said the company is investigating the situation.
The pills are often referred to and sold under the Plan B brand without a prescription. Also called morning-after pills, they are designed to be taken up to three days after unprotected sex. The medication mainly works by preventing ovulation and, failing that, may stop a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus.
An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.
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