Ella, an emergency contraceptive that can be taken up to 5 days after unprotected sex, has been approved by the FDA. Plan B, above, can only be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex.

A controversial emergency contraceptive that women could take up to five days after they had unprotected sex has won federal approval, the drug's manufacturer said.

The medication provides two more days than Plan B, the "morning-after" pill that's already available to women.

Known as "ella," the new drug will hit the markets later this year, according to its makers, Watson Pharmaceuticals.

Women will need a prescription from their doctor to obtain ella. Plan B is available over the counter.

The new drug blocks the female hormone progesterone, stopping ovaries from producing eggs.

The Food and Drug Administration gave the OK to ella two months ago. The manufacturer's announcement on Friday drew praise and criticism along the political spectrum.

Kirsten Moore, president of Reproductive Health Technologies Project, said ella gives "couples another safe and effective option for preventing unintended pregnancy after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure."

Critics said the new drug should not have been classified as emergency contraception because it can induce an abortion. Emergency contraceptives are eligible for federal funding.

"This decision flies in the face of the Obama administration's promise to transparency and a commitment to science," said Jeanne Monahan, a director at the Family Research Council. "The difference between preventing and destroying life is enormous, and women have the right to know how this drug will act on their bodies and on their babies."


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Vector Graphics said... @ September 2, 2010 at 4:23 AM

up to 5 days! wow sounds great.. is it available in India or only in US?

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