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University sets up a morning-after pill vending machine

A Pennsylvania college has installed a vending machine that dispenses the morning-after pill.
Plan b vending machine070212Enlarge
The Plan B pill, also known as the "morning after" pill, is being sold in a vending machine at a Pennsylvania university. (Joe Raedle/AFP/Getty Images)

Buying the morning-after pill just got a little bit easier for college students at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania. 

Students can now get Plan B from a vending machine, which was installed at the request of the student government, the Associated Press reported

Shippensburg conducted a survey about its health center services several years ago, the University said in a statement. 85 percent of the respondents supported making Plan B readily available.

"We value student input on matters that directly pertain to their health and safety, so these results were an important part of the decision-making process," the statement read. "We are not the first ones to make Plan B available so this is not unique to us or to public higher education."

However, the AP reported that Shippensburg's use of a vending machine to sell Plan B is rare, if not unprecedented. 

More from GlobalPost: US health plans required to provide free birth control 

Plan B, also known as the morning-after pill, is available without a prescription to anyone 17 or older. If taken up to 72 hours after rape, condom failure, or forgetting regular contraception, it reduces the chances of pregnancy by up to 89 percent. 

The drug isn't covered or subsidized by the school, local NBC News channel WNDU reported. Instead, it's supplied for $25, the school's cost to the pharmaceutical company. The vending machine is in a private room in the University's health center, which is only accessible to students, the school's spokesman Peter Gigliotti explained in a statement, according to the AP. 

“The machine is really used for privacy, if anything else," Dr. Roger Serr, the Vice President of Student Affairs at Shippensburg, told WNDU. 

The FDA approved Plan B as a prescription emergency contraception in 1999, Newsweek reported. Four years later, the maker of Plan B, Barr Laboratories, which has since changed its name to Teva Pharmaceuticals, applied to switch Plan B from prescription to over the counter status, but was denied by the FDA until 2006, when it approved over the counter sale for women 17 and older only. 

More from GlobalPost: Plan B pill denied over the counter status

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