Saturday, February 14, 2004

Did the FDA cave in to Christian Right pressure on the morning-after pill? Sure looks that way -- and it looks as if the agency did it at the time most cowardly acts are done in Washington, on a Friday afternoon:

...On Dec. 16, two expert advisory committees to the F.D.A. recommended, by votes of 23 to 4, that the drug [the morning-after pill] be sold over the counter.

But that did not stop the lobbying for and against the drug.

On Jan. 9, some 35 members of Congress wrote to President Bush asking him to urge the F.D.A. to deny the over-the-counter application....

And then, late this afternoon...

The Food and Drug Administration has told Barr Laboratories, the marketer of a so-called morning-after pill, that it is delaying its decision on whether to allow the drug to be sold over the counter.

The company's president and chief operating officer, Dr. Carole Ben-Maimon, said the F.D.A. called about 2 p.m. today and then faxed the company a letter saying it was extending its Feb. 20 deadline by 90 days.

The agency wants Barr Laboratories to provide more information about the use of the emergency contraceptive, especially among teenagers, according to the company....

If there were a betting pool for approval of over-the-counter sales of this drug in the U.S., I'd put money on "never" -- or at least on "never as long as Republicans control the federal government."

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