WATERLOO (KWWL) -- Federal health officials on Friday approved a new type of morning-after contraceptive that works longer than the current leading drug on the market.
The pill Ella from HRA Pharma reduces the chance of pregnancy up to five days after sex.
Plan B, the most widely used emergency contraceptive pill, begins losing its ability to prevent pregnancy within three days of sex.
The Food and Drug Administration approved the drug Friday as a prescription-only birth control option. The ruling clears the way for U.S. sales of the drug, which is already approved in Europe.
Morristown, N.J.-based Watson Pharmaceuticals will market the drug in the U.S. under an agreement with HRA. Watson said it will launch the pill in the fourth quarter.
Studies of Ella by its manufacturer showed the drug prevented pregnancies longer and more consistently than Plan B.