Where to Get the Morning-After Pill

The morning-after pill refers to any of the 1.5 mg levonorgestrel-based emergency contraceptives that consist of one pill. It can be an effective way to help prevent unintended pregnancy if you have had unprotected sex or experienced contraceptive failure (like a condom accidentally slipping off or breaking). Because it is most effective the sooner you take it, knowing where you can get the morning-after pill is very important.

Available morning after pills
Dawn Stacey

Before you can go out and get the morning-after pill, you first need to know what it is you want to buy. There are five morning-after pill options available:

Plus the following generic alternatives to Plan B One-Step:

Is It Better to Get Plan B One-Step?

Plan B One-Step is the only branded emergency contraceptive product. Next Choice One Dose, My Way, Take Action, and AfterPill, all work the same way as Plan B One-Step. All of these products consist of the same hormone (1.5 mg levonorgestrel) and are EQUALLY effective. Typically, the price for the generic alternatives is approximately around 10-20% cheaper than Plan B One-Step. That being said, you should be aware that one box of any of these emergency contraceptives will probably still end up costing somewhere between $30 and $65 (with the average price for Plan B One-Step being $48 and for My Way/Next Choice One Dose/Take Action, $41). You can save the most money by getting AfterPill. This morning-after pill is about 60% cheaper than Plan B One-Step, costing only $20 (plus $5 for shipping).

Where to Get the Morning-After Pill

There are no longer any point-of-sale restrictions to buy the morning-after pill. This means that you should be able to buy Plan B One-Step and its generic alternatives at your local drugstore. That being said, it is important to keep in mind the following:

  • Store owners have some discretion as to where they can shelve Plan B One-Step, My Way, Take Action and Next Choice One Dose. Typically, you should be able to locate the morning-after pill in the family-planning aisle of the store—in the same place where the store sells its over-the-counter (OTC) contraceptives (like condoms, Today Sponge, VCF, etc.), home pregnancy tests, and personal lubricants (like Wet Gellee and Astroglide).
  • To deter people from stealing it, stores may also choose to keep their morning-after pill inventory behind the pharmacy counter or at the check-out counter; some may place the package in a big plastic box (that the cashier will remove when you pay for it).
  • Some stores will have a spot for the morning-after pill on the shelves, but instead of having the actual box, there will be a picture of the product, the price, and directions to where you can locate it in the store (i.e., at the pharmacy or check-out counter).
  • Even if the morning-after pill is located behind the pharmacy shelf, remember that you do not need a prescription to buy it, or to prove your age—you just need to ask for it.

You can buy Next Choice One Dose, My Way, and Take Action the same way that you can buy Plan B One-Step—that are all available to pick up in your local store. These emergency contraceptives may also be available to buy online via various websites.

  • In order to get AfterPill, you MUST purchase it online. It is sold directly from its manufacturer, which is why it can be bought at a much lower price than the other morning-after pills. Because you have to rely on AfterPill being shipped to your home, you should get it ahead of time. This way, you can already have it on-hand to use immediately should the situation arise.

Do I Need An ID to Purchase the Morning-After Pill?

Unlike in the past, proof of age/ID is no longer required to get the morning-after pill. New legislation allows you to buy Plan B One-Step, Take Action, My Way, Next Choice One Dose and AfterPill regardless of how old you are.

Tips to Think About If You Want to Get the Morning-After Pill

It is strongly suggested that you buy the morning-after pill ahead of time — before you need it. Because it is most effective the sooner you use it after unprotected sex or contraception failure, having it readily accessible can save you precious time if you find yourself needing to use the morning-after pill.

Just because you can get the morning-after pill OTC doesn't mean that your local stores may carry it. Even if the stores do sell the morning-after pill, it is not unusual for them to have limited quantities of it. This means that there could be a good chance that the store may be out-of-stock when you go to get the morning-after pill.

Finally, if the store keeps its morning-after-pill inventory in the pharmacy, even though the store is open, the pharmacy may not be. This makes it more difficult to buy because you will then have to try to get the morning-after pill from a different store.

Also, please note that you can only get one-pill morning-after pill OTC with no age restrictions. If you want to get two-pill generic Next Choice, you must be at least 17 years old and provide valid ID to prove your age to your local pharmacist. If you are under 17, you need a prescription. The only way you can get the morning-after pill Ella is with a prescription.

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  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Office on Women's Health. Emergency contraception. Updated April 23, 2019.

  2. Plan B One-Step OTC. Med Lett Drugs Ther. 2013;55(1419):52.