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State: Wal-Mart must carry emergency contraception

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Wal-Mart Stores Incorporated
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Emergency Contraception

(CNN) -- Wal-Mart pharmacies in Massachusetts must carry emergency contraception pills, the state's pharmacy board has ruled.

The Massachusetts Board of Registration in Pharmacy on Tuesday ruled in favor of three women who filed complaints claiming that the stores refused to fill their prescriptions.

Julie Battel, Katrina McCarty and Rebekah Gee filed suit against the company earlier this month. (Full story)

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

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 currently only carries the pill at its Illinois stores, where it is required under 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 its assessment that demand for the product was not very high.

He added, that women's health was a high priority for Wal-Mart stores, and there are broader considerations.

"We are are giving the issue a lot of thought," Fogelman said

The board 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

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