Drugstores limiting "morning-after" pill purchases to avoid shortage

National pharmacy chains CVS and Rite Aid are limiting the number of emergency contraceptive pills customers may purchase after the Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to an abortion.

CVS said on Monday that it is temporarily limiting purchases of so-called morning-after pills to three boxes per transaction to avoid a shortage following the high court's ruling Friday striking down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

In a statement, the drugstore chain said it had "ample supply" of Plan B and Aftera, two products that can be taken by women to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or if a birth control method fails.

"To ensure equitable access and consistent supply on store shelves, we've implemented a temporary purchase limit of three (boxes) on these products," CVS said in a statement.

Emergency contraceptives typically work by delaying or preventing ovulation and are intended as a backup method of birth control. The drugs are distinct from abortion drugs, which terminate pregnancies. Plan B costs $49.99 for a single pill, while Aftera costs $39.99.

Rite Aid is also limiting purchases of emergency contraceptives, including Plan B and Option 2 brand pills. Customers are limited to three pills per order, according to the drugstore chain's website.

Walgreens, another major drugstore chain, said it had no plans "at this time" to place restrictions on sales of morning-after pills. Plan B pills are sold out at Walgreens.com, but are available in some stores.

"Walgreens is still able to meet demand in-store," a spokeswoman said. "At this time, we are working to restock online inventory for ship-to-home."

According to The Wall Street Journal, the Walmart supermarket chain was also limiting sales of morning-after pills to four or six for orders to be delivered by the end of the month but not for those to be shipped beginning in early July. The company didn't immediately respond to a request from AFP.

—With reporting from CBS News' Megan Cerullo

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