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's 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:

Plan B One-Step vs. Generics

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 between 10% and 20% cheaper than Plan B One-Step.

Even so, a 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.

Store owners have some discretion as to where they can shelve these drugs. Typically, they're in the family-planning aisle of the store—with over-the-counter (OTC) contraceptives (condoms, Today Sponge, VCF, etc.), home pregnancy tests, and personal lubricants.

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—they 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 have it shipped to your home, you should get it ahead of time. This way, it's on-hand to use immediately should the situation arise.

Age Restrictions

Unlike in the past, proof of age/ID is no longer required to get the OTC morning-after pills. 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.

However, you can only get one-pill morning-after pills OTC with no age restrictions. To buy the two-pill generic Next Choice, you must be at least 17 years old and have a valid ID. Otherwise, you need a prescription.

The brand of morning-after pill called Ella is only available with a prescription.

Planning Ahead

It's 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, having it readily accessible can save you precious time if you find yourself needing it.

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

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 can mean delays, which you don't want.

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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.