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FDA Delays Morning-After Pill Decision

The wingnuts are still trying to mess with the womb, even after the FDA logged 17,400 letters on the matter of offering non-prescription sales of the morning-after pill called Plan B to women 17 or older. The FDA is postponing a decision after pressure from groups like Concerned Women of America, who are worried it will increase teen sex (!?). This is absurd. (AP):

In a surprise move, the Food and Drug Administration postponed for at least 60 days a final decision on how to allow nonprescription sales of the morning-after pill called Plan B just to women 17 or older. “Enforceability is the key question,” said FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford.

The drug’s maker, Barr Pharmaceuticals, criticized the decision, questioning how the agency could acknowledge that scientific evidence supported nonprescription sales and yet not allow those sales to begin. “It’s like being in purgatory,” said Barr chief executive Bruce Downey.

The morning-after pill is a high dose of regular birth control that, taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, can lower the risk of pregnancy by up to 89 percent. It was Barr’s latest disappointment in the two-year battle to sell Plan B without a prescription. Contraceptive advocates and doctors groups say easier access could halve the nation’s 3 million annual unintended pregnancies. FDA’s scientists say the pills are safe, used by more than 2.4 million Americans and millions more women abroad with few side effects.

The agency’s independent scientific advisers overwhelmingly backed over-the-counter sales for everybody, not just adults, in December 2003. FDA rejected that recommendation, citing concern about young teens’ use of the pills without a doctor’s guidance. Barr reapplied, asking that women 16 and older be allowed to buy Plan B without a prescription while younger teens continue to get a doctor’s note. Downey said the company thought it had satisfied all of FDA’s scientific and legal concerns about how to do that – noting that cigarettes are sold in drugstores with age restrictions.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding