June 12, 2013 - The long-running lawsuit over emergency contraception finally ended Wednesday evening when a federal judge granted the Obama administration’s proposal to make the best-known morning-after pill available to all ages without a prescription.

Judge Edward R. Korman of the Eastern District Court of New York ruled that the government’s plan to make Plan B One-Step and its generic versions available over the counter was sufficient to comply with his order that the Food and Drug Administration remove all sales and age restrictions for these drugs.

Earlier on Wednesday, plaintiffs in the case, represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights, asked Judge Korman to reject the government’s proposal because it did not include the two-pill versions of the drug. Although two-pill versions are fast being replaced by one-pill versions, the plaintiffs noted that they were cheaper and that scientists had found no significant difference between them.

But the judge wrote that his original order in April said the F.D.A. could keep restrictions on two-pill versions if it “actually believed there was a significant difference.” The F.D.A. has said there are not enough studies to show that young women can responsibly take two separate doses instead of just one.

Judge Korman wrote that though two-pill versions can still be restricted “because off-brand versions of the one-pill product are available, it is at best speculative whether the two-pill product will provide a significantly cheaper alternative.”

He strongly urged the government not to give Plan B One-Step’s maker, Teva Pharmaceuticals, market exclusivity, which could affect the availability and cost of generic versions. “Marketing exclusivity will only burden poor women,” he wrote, adding, “It is the plaintiffs, rather than Teva, who are responsible for the outcome of this case, and it is they, and the women who benefited from their efforts, who deserve to be rewarded.”