Former FDA Official Says It Was Pressured on Morning After Pill

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 17, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Former FDA Official Says It Was Pressured on Morning After Pill Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 17, 2005

Washington, DC ( — Days after a preliminary government report accused the Food and Drug Administration of playing politics with the morning after pill, a former FDA official claims the agency was pressured by Bush administration officials to not approve the sometimes abortion-causing drug for over the counter sales.

Susan Wood resigned in August from the federal agency as its woman’s advocate following the FDA’s decision to postpone final approval on a request to sell the drugs over the counter to women above the age of 16.

"I don’t think FDA was acting independently," she told the Associated Press in an interview.

Wood, however, admitted she did not take part int he decision-making process and doesn’t know for sure who made the final call.

The Government Accountability Office report, which has not yet been officially released, says leading FDA officials intervened to stop the sales approval.

According to the New York Daily News, one Congressional source said the report accuses former FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford of intervening to head off the approval. Crawford suddenly resigned last month, just two months after the Senate confirmed him to the post.

Wood told reporters at a press conference that the FDA reports to the Department of Health and Human Services, which reports to the White House. She says someone higher up probably pressured the FDA to not approve the drug.

Wood called on Crawford’s acting replacement, Andrew von Eschenbach to quickly approve Plan B for drugstore shelves.

If von Eschenbach doesn’t, she claimed, "we’ll know it isn’t his decision. We’ll know by his actions whether he is independent."

Pro-life groups were delighted when Wood resigned early last month. A spokeswoman for one pro-life group says women are now safer because the staffer, who advocated the use of the sometimes abortion drug, is gone.

Parents should have a say if the FDA is going around them to make a drug – which has not been adequately tested for safety in adolescents – available to their children," Wendy Wright, of Concerned Women for America, explained. "Thank goodness there is now one less political activist at the FDA who puts radical feminist ideology above women’s health."

Wood joined the FDA in 2000 after directing women’s health programs at the Department of Health and Human Services.