NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon limits the number of emergency contraceptives consumers can buy, joining other retailers that have implemented similar caps following the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. wade.
Amazon’s limit, which temporarily limits the purchase of contraceptives to three units per week, went into effect on Monday, a spokesperson for the e-commerce giant confirmed to The Associated Press. The company didn’t share more details about the emergency contraceptive products that were restricted in purchase, but a listing did show the cap on Plan B, the popular morning-after pill.
A similar policy came into effect Monday at pharmacy chain Rite Aid, which limited the purchase of Plan B pills to three units per customer due to increased demand, a company spokesperson said. . The limit applies to in-store and online purchases.
Emergency contraception is different from the abortion pills used to end a pregnancy. Plan B, which can be obtained without a prescription, contains a concentrated dose of the same drug found in many regular birth control pills. If a woman takes Plan B within 72 hours of unprotected sex, she can significantly reduce the risk of pregnancy.
Emergency contraception has come under attack from some abortion haters who believe that life begins when an egg is fertilized. The federally approved label says it can prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus. But researchers from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said it was unlikely to have that effect.
A major Missouri hospital chain briefly stopped providing Plan B due to confusion over whether the state’s ban on abortion could expose doctors to criminal prosecution for providing it. However, St. Luke’s Health Kansas City said Wednesday it would resume offering the drug.
Retailers limit purchases is a common practice that helps retailers prevent stockpiling and reselling at higher prices.
“Traders are cautious. They’re trying to manage it,” said Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail. “But I don’t think there are chronic shortages.”
Walmart, Amazon’s main competitor, capped Plan B online purchases at 10 units, although it’s unclear when the purchase limit began. The retailer has no in-store limits at this time, but officials may make changes to ensure availability based on demand.
“Many of our products have online purchase limits,” a Walmart spokesperson said. “In times of fluctuating demand, these limits may change.”
Meanwhile, CVS Health said it removed its own caps on emergency contraceptives after installing a temporary limit following Friday’s High Court ruling. The company said it was looking to preserve access to the products following a “sharp increase” in sales, which have since returned to normal levels.
“We continue to have an adequate supply of emergency contraceptives to meet customer needs,” CVS Health spokesperson Matthew Blanchette said.
The Walgreens drugstore chain is still able to meet the demand for in-store shopping and curbside pickup of over-the-counter emergency contraceptive pills. But spokeswoman Emily Mekstan said the company was restocking its home delivery business, which has seen an increase in demand. CVS Health and Walgreens are the two largest US drugstore chains. They manage around 19,000 locations combined.
Spokespeople for Target and Kroger said they had nothing to share about potential limits on contraceptive purchases.
AP writers Anne D’Innocenzio in New York and Tom Murphy in Indianapolis contributed to this report.