How CVS Is Trying To Ensure One Product Shortage Won’t Happen

By Kristi Eckert | Published

CVS plan b

The stark political divide that plagues the United States widened even further with the recent overturning of Roe vs. Wade. Now, in many states, women’s rights have fundamentally changed or will be soon. The resulting upheaval as a result of women being stripped of their right to choose what happens to their bodies has caused an uptick in the number of emergency contraceptives, like Plan B, being purchased nationwide. In response, CVS has begun limiting the purchase quantities for Plan B and others like it. 

CVS disclosed that right now their stores are still well-stocked with Plan B and other brands of emergency contraceptives. However, to ensure that all women will continue to have “equitable access and consistent supply on store shelves” the company has put a 3 per person limit in place. As of now, Walmart, Walgreens, and other carriers of Plan B and similar drugs have not implemented any purchase limit policies and, at this point, it remains unclear if they will.

CVS having the foresight to put a purchase limit on Plan B in order to ensure that it remains sufficiently accessible to all those who need it could prove to be exceedingly intelligent. NPR reported that in states where abortions have been banned or heavily restricted some individuals are already having trouble finding emergency contraceptives on store shelves. This is due to various factors, including the upfront cost stores have to pay to stock the pill and the fact that item is associated with high rates of theft. But some speculate that it could also be due to misconceptions about what the pill itself does.

Plan B is not an abortion pill. Plan B is an emergency contraceptive meant to prevent an unwanted pregnancy after a woman has unprotected sex. These pills are meant to be taken within 5 days of having intercourse. However, for optimum effectiveness, they should be taken within three days of having sex. Plan B and others like it will in no way harm an existing pregnancy, it can only prevent one from occurring. That being said, the fact that some individuals have reportedly had trouble finding stock of Plan B and similar drugs, CVS was wise to put a limit in place. 

CVS’ decision to limit how much Plan B someone can purchase, the fact that some individuals are already having difficulty finding it, and the potential misconceptions about what Plan B does are indicative of a tumultuous road ahead. The dissolution of Roe vs. Wade will facilitate a continually changing landscape in the coming months and will certainly further exacerbate the stark civil divide that the US is contending with. And will almost certainly give rise to an increase in maternal mortality in states where abortion is no longer legal. 

Moreover, other companies in addition to CVS have already begun to take notice. Tech giants like Apple and Google, who remain proponents of women have asserted that they are committed to maintaining that their women employees continue to have access to abortions should they seek it. These companies both asserted that they will even provide funding for women to travel to safe haven states to undergo the procedure. Google is even helping to fund complete relocations.