A top health official from the Obama administration has overruled the decision by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make Teva Pharmaceuticals’ Plan B morning-after pill available to young teens without a prescription.

FDA officials were yesterday preparing to lift the age restriction on the pill, which is currently available without prescription only to those 17 and older who can prove their age.

However, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius intervened at the 11th hour and overruled the FDA, deciding that the pill should remain behind pharmacy counters and should not be moved to drug store shelves.

It is believed to be the first time that the Obama administration has overruled an FDA decision.

Yesterday, Teva Pharmaceuticals was hopeful about the outcome of its application to make Plan B available to all girls and women.

The product, which can be taken up to three days after intercourse, contains higher doses of female hormone progestin than birth-control pills, and works by blocking a potentially fertilised egg from becoming implanted in a woman’s uterus.