Wal-Mart dealt morning-after pill setback
Retailer's pharmacies in Massachusetts ordered to stock the emergency contraception; company spokesman says Wal-Mart plans to comply.

ATLANTA (CNN) - Wal-Mart pharmacies in Massachusetts will be required to carry emergency contraception pills after the state's pharmacy board ruled in favor of three women who filed complaints two weeks ago against the mega chain for refusing their prescriptions.

Wal-Mart (Research) has until Thursday to comply with the ruling.

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The drug, which is commonly referred to as the "morning-after pill," or "Plan B," must be taken 72 hours after sex to prevent pregnancy.

Wal-Mart pharmacies in the state of Illinois are the only stores that carry the pill, in accordance with state regulations.

Wal-Mart spokesman Dan Fogelman said the company plans to comply with the board's ruling.

Asked why the pharmacy only carries the pill in one state, Fogelman said that it was purely a "business decision" for Wal-Mart, based on their assessment that demand for the product was not very high.

He added, however, that women's health was a high priority for Wal-Mart stores, and there are broader considerations. "We are giving the issue a lot of thought," Fogelman said.

The Massachusetts Board of Registration in Pharmacy wrote a letter to Wal-Mart's lawyers informing them of their decision and requiring the company to stock and disperse emergency contraception when presented with prescriptions, according to board spokeswoman Donna Rheaume.

-- From CNN Assignment Editor Jon Schienberg


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