Pro-Life FDA Advisory Board Member Reappointed, Abortion Activists Worried
by Paul Nowak
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
July 1, 2004
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Dr. David Hager has be re-appointed by President Bush to the FDA Advisory Committee For Reproductive Health Drugs, much to the disappointment of pro-abortion groups. Hager was one of four members of that committee to vote against making the morning-after pill, which can cause an early-term abortion, available over the counter.
FDA spokesman Brad Stone said that Hager has been asked to serve at least one more year.
"I’m honored to be considered for reappointment, and I do intend to serve," said Hager, director of an obstetrics and gynecology training program at Central Baptist Hospital, affiliated with the University of Kentucky.
"I believe that I offer the ability to objectively evaluate data and arrive at sound decisions based on that information," Dr. Hager added.
Though the advisory committee approved sales of the dangerous drug without a prescription, the FDA agreed with Hager and denied the request.
Abortion advocates have contested the scientific objectivity of Dr. Hager’s decisions.
"Dr. Hager’s ideological agenda compromises the scientific integrity of the FDA," Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s National Medical Committee Chairman Dr. Scott Spear said. "Americans rely on the FDA as a trusted and objective safeguard. When science comes second, public health suffers. President Bush should appoint an unbiased expert who values science above all."
However, Dr. Hager explains that he voted against the Plan B application for over-the-counter status because of the unscientific nature of the studies submitted for the FDA Advisory Committee’s approval.
"My position on the Plan B issue was based on a review of the science and the lack of substantive data from the population of adolescent women," explained Dr. Hager. "My concern is regarding the health and well-being of women."
That’s the same reason why the FDA disallowed over-the-counter sales.
The agency said drug manufacturer Barr Laboratories’ main basis for approval was a study of 585 people who had used the drug. However, the FDA pointed out that only 29 of the subjects were 14-16 years old.
"I understand the extreme left’s effort to discredit me and my efforts to help women, so I continue to stand firm on my decision to remain on the committee and to continue to state the truth about vital issues facing women and their health," Dr. Hager said in response to an email circulated by NARAL opposing his appointment.
"Our system of approval of drugs is unparalleled in the world," Hager told LifeNews.com. "We do not, nor should we allow medications to be used by any segment of the population without adequate, well-designed studies to prove their safety and effectiveness."
Pro-life leaders have applauded Dr. Hager on his courage to stand up to attacks from pro-abortion groups.
"If I was in David Hager’s shoes, I’m not at all sure I’d want to stay on that committee," said David Stevens, executive director of the Christian Medical Association. The CMA , along with Concerned Women for America and the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians, petitioned the FDA to reconsider its approval of abortion drug RU-486.
"His character has been assassinated by pro-abortion groups and by the media," said Stevens.