Pro-Life Doctor Says His Memo Led to FDA Ruling on Plan B Drugs

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 16, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Doctor Says His Memo Led to FDA Ruling on Plan B Drugs Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 16, 2005

Washington, DC ( — A pro-life doctor who is a part of a FDA panel that considered whether or not to allow over the counter sales of the morning after pill says a minority report he wrote led the agency to decide against the request. David Hager says his memo played a key role in the FDA’s decision.

The pro-abortion magazine The Nation obtained a copy of a video of Hager giving a speech in October saying he had been asked to write a "minority report" after the panel voted 23-4 to allow over the counter sales of the Plan B drug.

"I was asked to write a minority opinion that was sent to the commissioner of the FDA," he said in a speech at Asbury College in Kentucky. "For only the second time in five decades, the FDA did not abide by its advisory committee opinion, and the measure was rejected."

Hager told the audience he wrote the report from a scientific perspective and he argued the panel had too little information about how the drug, which can sometimes cause an abortion, would affect girls younger than 16.

Ultimately, the FDA decided Barr Laboratories did not provide enough information on the drugs effects on younger teens and Barr has come back to the federal agency with a revised proposal asking for sales of the drug over the counter only to women above 16 years of age.

The FDA has yet to rule on that request.

Though is speech made it sound as if the request for the report came from an FDA official, in an email to the Washington Post, Hager said he had been asked by someone from "outside the agency" to write the report.

An FDA spokesman told the Post Wednesday that FDA officials did not request the report. The official indicated Hager sent a "private citizen letter" to Commissioner Mark McClellan.

"We don’t ask for minority reports and opinions," she told the Post. "I’ve been advised that nobody from the FDA asked him to write the letter."

Abortion advocates have strongly opposed Hager’s selection to serve on the panel, despite his status as a prominent Kentucky obstetrician and gynecologist and author of books on women’s health.

Leading pro-abortion lawmakers in the Senate have held up confirming acting commissioner Lester Crawford’s nomination to serve as FDA commissioner. They are upset the federal agency has postponed a decision on whether to approve the so-called morning after pills for over the counter sales.

In a hearing on his nomination, Crawford said the drug approval process had been delayed because of the complexity of the request. Drugs normally are approval for over the counter sale to all customers or not. Implementing the 16 year-old requirement has been complex, he explained.

Pro-life groups oppose the drugs because they sometimes cause an abortion and encourage risky sexual behaviors.