POMONA, NY: After a protracted three-year campaign for Barr Pharmaceutical to get its Plan B "morning after" pill approved by the FDA for over-the-counter sale, the company is working on a marketing plan that educates consumers, while expressing to women ages 18 to 44 that the drug is only to be used after other birth control methods have failed.
The FDA approved OTC sale of the pill for women ages 18 on August 24, ending a bitter political debate that emboldened anti-abortion groups across the nation.
With OTC sales of the drug beginning at pharmacy locations around the country before the end of the year, the pharma company has little time to educate its consumers about the benefits and risks of its product.
But Barr will target earned media in print publications like Glamour, Jane, Cosmopolitan, and Marie Claire. They will also advertise in those magazines and on Web sites.
The educational campaigns will focus on raising awareness amongst healthcare professionals and conveying time sensitivity and appropriate use to consumers. Due to the personal nature of the product and its intended use as a one-time preventative measure, the company told the Wall Street Journal that it will not be going the traditional route of a wide-scale ad campaign. Plan B works to prevent pregnancy if taken within 72 hours of sexual intercourse by providing a higher dose of the hormones found in regular birth-control regimen.
While the company has not specifically addressed the concerns of religious activists, it has acknowledged that those who disagree OTC availability of the drug.
"The company recognizes that there are differing opinions regarding emergency contraception," said Carol Cox, VP for Barr's IR and corporate communications departments, in an e-mail. "We believe that there is a compelling public health need to increase awareness and access to this important emergency contraceptive."