College students at Yale will see a new vending machine in one of their buildings. According to a report in the Yale Daily News, a wellness-to-go vending machine will be installed at Sillman College before winter break. The machine will contain the often-coveted morning after pill Plan-B along with other contraceptives. While contraceptive vending machines may seem like a novel idea, Yale joins a growing trend of Universities installing the vending machines on campus.
Yale Daily News announced the installation of the new vending machine earlier this week. According to the article, access to the morning after pill by students has not always been easy. Even though Yale Health offers Plan B for free to students, not all co-eds have access to the medicine.
Yale spokeswoman Karen Peart emphasized that Plan-B is free for all student regardless of gender or insurance plan. The emergency contraceptive is available at Yale Health or Acute Care after normal pharmacy hours.
Despite the fact that Plan B is free, advocates have been pushing for the vending machine for a year. Advocates pointed to the fact that the accessibility of the pill is an obstacle for some students.
“The point of this is to make Plan B more accessible and to make medications in general more accessible,” said Ileana Valdez ’21, a Yale College Council representative who spearheaded the installation effort. “Hopefully this will set a precedent for more machines to show up around campus that contain other things so Yale students don’t have to go out of their way to go to CVS, especially students from the new colleges.”
The report goes on to say Plan-B will be sold for at or below the average retail price. Current pricing at CVS pharmacy for Plan-B is around $45.
Yale’s decision to install the vending machines follows the lead of other major universities around the United States. Last year, the New York Times featured a story numerous colleges rolling out the vending machines. Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley, University of Califonia, Davis, and Pomona College were all featured in the story.
The trailblazing school to start the movement of Plan-B vending machines was Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania. In 2012, Shippensburg University unveiled the Plan-B vending machine on campus after the FDA removed an age restriction on the purchase of the medication.
Individuals interviewed by the New York Times say the anonymity of the machines makes them desirable for some students. Haydn Bryan of Boise State University told the times, “It’s more private because you don’t have to speak to an actual person. It’s also cheaper than going to a Walgreens or Walmart because the university doesn’t mark up the prices.”
Whether students seek a reduced cost or anonymity, the vending machines aim to help students get access to valuable medication. Plan-B is a time-sensitive emergency contraceptive that is most effective when taken within 12 hours of unprotected sex.
With time being of the essence, vending machines provide the students easy and quick access to the drugs. Yale Daily News points out that weekends can be the most challenging time to get the drug due to reduced hours at the pharmacies.
Also, for those concerned that colleges in the United States are in the business of selling abortion pills, Plan-B is not an abortion pill. Plan-B prevents implantation of the fertilized egg into the uterus.
Cheers to Yale for taking a significant step in helping student prevent unwanted pregnancies. Hopefully, the trend will continue to expand across the country.
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