by Steven Ertelt
January 22, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The Food and Drug Administration on Friday delayed its decision on whether to allow sales of the so-called morning after pill over the counter. The federal agency was expected to reach a decision Friday but said in a statement that it needed more time to review the drug.
The FDA rejected a proposal by Barr Pharmaceuticals last year to allow the drug, which sometimes causes abortions, to be sold to anyone without a doctor’s visit.
Agency officials said Barr did not provide enough information on how the drug affects teenagers.
Barr submitted a new application asking that the drug, also known as Plan B, be sold without a prescription only to those above 16 years of age.
A statement by FDA officials Friday to Barr executives said the agency couldn’t meet the Friday deadline it set for itself on the revised proposal.
"The company remains optimistic that the agency will approve Plan B for OTC sale," Barr said in a press release reacting to the news.
Meanwhile, the FDA indicated it "is committed to completing its review of the application in the near future."
Pro-life groups oppose the use of the drug and point to a recent study, conducted by researchers at the University of California at San Francisco, that found increased access to the "morning after" pill did not lower pregnancy rates because many women did not use the pills.
In addition, Wendy Wright, of Concerned Women for America, said the study showed "easy access to the drug increases sexually transmitted disease (STD) rates," a situation she called "alarming."
"Furthermore, studies show that the abortion rate is unaffected, and in some cases has increased," she explained.
Meanwhile, Cathy Cleaver Ruse, speaking for the nation’s Catholic bishops, said that the study, co-authored by a Planned Parenthood doctor, "blows the lid off the main argument for putting morning after pills on the drugstore shelf."
"Proponents have repeatedly claimed that making the drug available without a prescription would reduce abortion numbers by as many as half; now their own study debunks that claim," Ruse said.
Six states, including Alaska, California, Hawaii, Maine, New Mexico and Washington, allow the morning after pill to be purchased without a prescription.
Related web sites:
Food and Drug Administration – https://www.fda.gov