FDA Decision on Morning After Pill Won’t Affect States Selling Drug to Teens
by Steven Ertelt
August 29, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The Food and Drug Administrations decision to allow sales of the morning after pill over the counter to anyone 18 or older will not affect states that had already allowed non-prescription access to the drug. Nine states had approved sales without a doctor’s visit prior to the FDA decision and also allowed teenagers could purchase the drug.
Steven Galson, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research said the agency’s decision should not affect regulations in nine states that allow pharmacists to sell the drug without a prescription to people of all ages.
Washington, California, New Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont had already passed regulations allow sales of the morning after pill over the counter before the FDA acted.
The FDA’s agreement with Barr Laboratories calls for the drug maker to monitor sales of the Plan B pill in the 41 other states where the 18 or older restrictions will be in place. Barr must send mystery shoppers to pharmacies in those states twice a year next year and once a year afterwards to make sure pharmacies are complying.
In the states where only those 18 an older can buy the drug, they must show identification for proof of age.
The FDA has come under fire from both pro-abortion and pro-life groups on the decision to limit the drug to those above 18.
Abortion advocates say that means the morning after pill won’t reduce as many abortions and unplanned pregnancies as it could have if everyone could purchase the pills.
Pro-life groups say the FDA won’t be able to enforce the provision and that criminals who prey on vulnerable teenagers will be able to use the Plan B drug to cover up their actions.
Wendy Wright, the president of Concerned Women for America, said the morning after pill won’t be the panacea abortion advocates claim.
A 2005 study co-authored by a Planned Parenthood doctor in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that having Plan B on hand did nothing to reduce pregnancy rates compared to those who obtained the drug from a pharmacy.
Wright also pointed to other problems, including no enforcement of the restriction that the drug not be sold to girls under 18.
"Enforcement requires a penalty for violating the restriction," Wright explained. "The FDA has no authority or ability to enforce an age restriction, and Barr, the Plan B drug maker, has neither the ability nor the willingness."
Wright also said that Planned Parenthood and abortion advocates were given certain restrictions by the FDA on the dangerous abortion drug RU 486, but that those haven’t been followed.
"Those restrictions have never been followed, women have died, yet no one has been punished nor the drug approval pulled,” said Wright.
She also worries that a parent, older sibling or other relative or older friends could purchase the morning after pill for young teens, avoiding the requirement that they visit a doctor first before using the drug.
Wright said selling the morning after pill over the counter will make it easier for men who abuse young women to cover up their crimes.
"Any adult male who is having sex with a minor could walk into a pharmacy, buy the drug, and coax the girl into taking the pill," she said.