12/07/2011 10:30 EST | Updated 02/06/2012 05:12 EST

US agency considers removing age restrictions so morning-after pill could sell in drugstores

WASHINGTON - The U.S. health secretary stopped the Plan B morning-after pill from moving onto drugstore shelves next to the condoms, deciding in a surprise move Wednesday that young girls should not be able to buy it on their own.

The Food and Drug Administration was preparing to lift a controversial age limit and make Plan B One-Step the U.S.'s first over-the-counter emergency contraceptive, available for purchase by people of any age without a prescription.

But Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius intervened at the eleventh hour and overruled her own experts.

Plan B instead will remain behind the pharmacy counter, as it is sold today