Should More Schools Have Plan B Contraceptive Available From Vending Machines?

Pennsylvania’s Shippensburg University is making headlines across the country today after newspapers and TV stations picked up an AP story about the school offering Plan B emergency contraceptive (you can also call it levonorgestrel if you’re not into brand names) via a vending machine in the school’s health center.

According to the university, at least one female student a day hits up the machine for a $25 dose of the drug, which was installed after a request from the school’s Student Association.

“The vending machine is just a way to dispense it. It’s provided, it’s not necessarily promoted on a large scale,” explains the university vice president for student affairs to the Chambersburg Public Opinion. “(We got it) so that the people who wanted to use it can buy it… As long as the health fee didn’t subsidize it. No student fee money goes in to these.”

The school says that the $25 cost to the student is exactly what it pays to the provider of the drug and that all the money it takes in from the machine goes back to refilling it.

Other schools in Pennsylvania tell the Public Opinion that their students don’t have such ready access to Plan B. At Millersville University, students must first meet with a nurse to go over the instructions.

Vending machine at Shippensburg University dispenses emergency contraceptive [Chambersburg Public Opinion]