FDA Commissioner Resigned in Part Over Morning After Pill Flap

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 25, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

FDA Commissioner Resigned in Part Over Morning After Pill Flap

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
October 25, 2005

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — In his first and only interview about his resignation, Former FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford told Forbes magazine that he resigned in part because of the controversy surrounding the Food and Drug Administrations’ delay on approving the morning after pill for over the counter status.

Crawford said his decision to leave was partly related to a request from Barr Laboratories to sell the Plan B drugs, which sometimes cause an abortion, without a prescription or doctor’s visit.

"I thought it was time for somebody else to do it," Crawford told Forbes. "I didn’t think it was possible to be very effective anymore."

He also told the financial publication that he was tired of the job — Crawford has been acting commissioner for sometime until the Senate approved his nomination to head the agency in July.

Crawford denied that alleged financial conflicts of interest, which are being examined by HHS officials, played any part in his decision.

Instead, Crawford said he wasn’t ready to deal with another round of national fighting about the morning after pill drugs that came about after the latest delay in OTC approval.

"Another year of that stuff," he said, "I didn’t think I was up to it."

Earlier this month, the Government Accountability Office released to some congressional staffers a draft report on FDA’s 2004 rejection of Barr’s original application for OTC status for Plan B. According to the draft report, the rejection was an atypical decision made with uncharacteristic involvement from leading agency officials and might have been decided several months prior to its formal announcement.

GAO investigators tried unsuccessfully to interview Crawford, then acting commissioner, about the decision.

However, according to a Washington Post report, Crawford’s attorney said he never refused to cooperate with the GAO query into the approval process.

The final report is expected to be released soon.