AMA Tells FDA to Not Make Morning After Pill Decision Based on Politics

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 14, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

AMA Tells FDA to Not Make Morning After Pill Decision Based on Politics Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 14, 2006

Chicago, IL ( — The American Medical Association, at its national meeting on Wednesday, voted to approve a resolution calling on the Food and Drug Administration to not base a decision to disallow sales of the morning after pill over the counter based on politics. The agency has indefinitely suspended any decision on the Plan B drug, which can cause an abortion.

The AMA resolution said the doctors group was concerned that politics was playing a more prominent role than science in making the decision.

An FDA advisory committee urged the agency to approve Barr Pharmaceuticals’ request to sell the morning after pill without a prescription, but the agency denied the request saying the company failed to provide enough information on how the drug affects teenagers.

Barr came back with a revised proposal to only allow the drug to be sold to women above the age of 16, but the FDA has postponed a final decision saying such a request presents unusual enforcement issues.

The AMA backs selling the Plan B pills without a physician visit and says more delay on the decision is unnecessary, according to a statement from AMA president-elect Ronald Davis.

The AMA is the second medical group to call on the FDA to approve the morning after pill request.

Last month, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists started a new effort to get doctors to promote the drug, which can sometimes cause an abortion. The campaign features ads for doctors to post in their offices and waiting rooms, but pro-life doctors who oppose the drug, which can sometimes cause an abortion, may not be receptive.

Dr. David Hager, a Kentucky OBGYN who was on the FDA panel, is one of those doctors.

He says ACOG’s contention that the drug will lower pregnancy and abortion rates is contradicted by two leading studies showing the opposite.

"A study done out of Scotland, a very well done study, concludes that advance provision of emergency contraception does not reduce abortion rates," he told Agape Press. "They did not find an effect on lowering abortion rates in women who had these prescriptions or had the medication available."

Meanwhile, Hager points to another study, done by the University of California at San Francisco and conducted by a Planned Parenthood medical advisor, that showed those rates did not decrease even when women were supplied with the Plan B drugs.

UCSF tracked 2,117 local women from age 15 to 24 who participated in the study for six months. Some women were given a personal supply of the pills, another group were told to obtain the pills at a local pharmacy, and a third group were instructed to get the drugs from a local health clinic.

The study found that increased access to the "morning after" pill did not lower pregnancy rates, because many women did not use the pills. In fact, only 55 percent of the women who had the pills already in their possession took them following sexual intercourse.

Regardless of which of the three control groups the women were placed in, the results showed the same percentage of women in each group had sex, contracted sexually transmitted diseases and became pregnant at the same rates.