FDA Still Undecided on Morning After Pill Sales Without Doctor

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 3, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
November 3, 2005

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — On Tuesday, the end of the 60 day comment period ended that the FDA said it wanted following its latest decision to postpone any announcement on the sale of the morning after pills over the counter. FDA officials said they are reviewing the comments will decide as soon as possible.

Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman Julie Zawisza told the Associated Press the agency has received 2,268 comments on the Plan B drug, which sometimes causes an abortion.

"We will review the public comments as soon as practicable and, taking those comments into account, decide how to proceed,” she said of the process from here.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, a pro-abortion New York Democrat decried the slow progress on approve the drug to be sold over the counter for women above the age of 16.

"It’s time for the FDA to stop dragging its feet and make this decision,” Clinton said. "This has gone on for two years. They have all the evidence they need.”

Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America says the delay has been helpful because the drugs increase risky sex and don’t reduce abortion rates. She also worries the drug can’t be enforced for only sales to girls above the age of 16.

"There is absolutely no way for the FDA to enforce it," she said. "And there is nothing to stop an 18-year-old from buying it and giving it to a 13-year-old."

Clinton and pro-abortion Washington Sen. Patty Murray submitted a petition to newly appointed FDA interim chief Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach calling the inaction "virtually unprecedented." The pair found just 9,800 abortion advocates to sign on to the petition.

However the national publicity over the approval process has promoted the drug and made people more aware of it than ever before.

Princeton University economist James Trussell, a longtime backer of the morning after pills, told Knight Ridder News, "It has generated a ton of publicity, and that almost surely has a consequence of increasing awareness — and awareness is still the biggest barrier to use."

Barr Laboratories says annual prescriptions for Plan B have doubled to 1.6 million during the two years that the FDA has been weighing the over the counter request.

"We’ve had more interest from reporters on Plan B than anything else we do," Carol Cox of the company told Knight Ridder.