Universities across the country are starting to install vending machines whereby college students can obtain emergency contraception from a vending machine.
Barnard College in New York said it would soon install a vending machine, months after Columbia University did.
Stanford University and Dartmouth College have all added vending machines with Plan B for sale.
Vending machines are being installed in universities across the country that sell contraceptives and the morning-after pill for around $15. Pictured, the machine at UC Davis
The ‘Wellness To Go’ vending machine was installed in a study room at the University of California Davis after several years of lobbying by student Parteek Singh
The emergency contraception from the vending machine costs $10, compared to about $40-$50 from the drugstore
One such machine has already been installed at the University of California Davis on campus.
The ‘Wellness To Go’ vending machine was installed in a study room.
It means as well as the morning after pill, the vending machine is stocked full of condoms, pregnancy tests, tampons and Advil.
Each box of emergency contraception from the vending machine costs $30, compared to about $40-$50 at a drugstore.
At Barnard, the pills are free for students covered by the university’s health insurance plan and $15 otherwise at the health center, and $15 in the machine.
Plan B came to market in 1999. It is now sold over the counter to customers, regardless of age.
At UC Davis, the machine was installed after years of lobbying by former student Parteek Singh.
As well as the morning after pill, the vending machines are stocked full of condoms, pregnancy tests, tampons and pain killers
He turned his focus to public health after an incident where one of his friends went to a pharmacy on a Friday night but they had sold out of emergency contraception.
‘The more skeptical and negativity I got from other people like, ‘Oh it’s not gonna happen’, kind of pushed me more,’ Singh told KRON4. ‘I feel like every college should have this.’
UC Davis is one of the growing numbers of college campuses to sell emergency contraception out of a vending machine but other university campuses are also looking to introduce similar vending machines including Yale and Miami University in Ohio.
Yale’s undergraduate student government initially expected to stock its vending machine with emergency contraception and other health-related items but learned this month that a Connecticut law bars it from vending over-the-counter drugs.
‘This is a big disappointment,’ said Yale College Council president Saloni Rao to the Wall Street Journal. She aims to still stock it with condoms.
The vending machines haven’t prompted public objections on campuses, where they’re largely seen as an extension of existing services. The machines on most campuses, small boxes attached to a wall or dispensers resembling those for Snickers or soda, also sell other health products like cold medicine and condoms.
Many schools already offer free or reduced-cost emergency contraception in their student health centers.
But while students can get emergency contraception pills and condoms from the student health center, the facility is closed on weekends and after 5.30pm on weeknights when such pills are often most needed.
PlanB emergency contraception costs $40-$50 at a drugstore but $15 from the machine
Students also prefer the anonymity of buying Plan B from the machine.
‘Although this is medically safe for people to self-administer and no prescription is needed, we would always prefer that students talk with medical or counseling practitioners about preventing unwanted pregnancy,’ said Rose Pascarell, vice president for university life at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.
The school installed a machine in its student union in October, in response to student requests.
Many are praising the vending machine saying it is great for women, but others have criticized the concept.
‘It is promoting like ‘oh hey, go and have unsafe sex because then you have a backup option and its gonna be cheaper,” one student said.