Former FDA Head Under Investigation, Partly Over Morning After Pill Comments

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 1, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Former FDA Head Under Investigation, Partly Over Morning After Pill Comments Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 1, 2006

Washington, DC ( — Former FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford is under investigation and part of the query regards the controversial morning after pill. Crawford abruptly resigned last September, just two months after Congress approved his nomination.

The investigation appears to be mostly focused on improper financial transactions he made in stock in a company the FDA regulated.

However, it also involves the Plan B drug, which abortion advocates have been pressing the federal agency to approve for over the counter sales. Pro-life groups are opposed saying that the morning after pill can cause an abortion on occasion by preventing the unborn baby from growing inside her mother.

Part of the investigation includes allegedly false statements Crawford made to Congress about the approval process for the drug.

Crawford’s attorney Barbara Van Gelder, says a grand jury has begun to look into Crawford, who was slated to provide testimony to it. Van Gelder stepped in and told Crawford to invoke his rights against self-incrimination and the testimony has been delayed.

Barr Laboratories, the maker of the Plan B drug, submitted an application to sell it without a prescription. FDA officials declined the request, saying the company didn’t provide enough information about the drug’s effects on teenagers.

The FDA told Barr it could submit a new request selling the drug only to women above the age of 16. Barr resubmitted its proposal to do that and the FDA has repeatedly declined to make a final determination since then.

Crawford told Congress that a final decision would be rendered on the drug in September 2005, which prompted pro-abortion Senators Patty Murray, and Hillary Clinton to lift their hold on his nomination. Those are the comments that are apparently under investigation.

The delay has upset pro-abortion lawmakers in Congress, who have put a hold President Bush’s nomination of cancer specialist Andrew von Eschenbach to replace Crawford.

While abortion advocates have claimed the FDA’s delays in approving the morning after pill are political, the FDA said the unique request to sell the drug only to women over 16 presents challenging enforcement issues that it is trying to resolve.

The Center for Reproductive Rights, a pro-abortion law firm, filed suit in New York over the delays and the state of Wisconsin has joined in the litigation.

Meanwhile, the FDA has also come under question from pro-life groups who want to know why the agency has not pulled the dangerous abortion drug RU 486.

The FDA has issue its strongest black box warning for the drug following the deaths of six women nationwide and several medical complications for another 850 more women.

Crawford had been the FDA’s acting commissioner for a year when he was confirmed. After his resignation, he obtained a job at a Washington lobbying firm.