FDA official resigns over delay in morning-after pill approval

[JURIST] A high-level Food and Drug Administration [official website] official resigned Wednesday to protest the agency's delay in deciding whether to approve emergency contraception pills for over-the-counter sale. Susan Wood, director of the FDA Office of Women's Health [official website], announced her resignation and reasoning in an e-mail to colleagues at the FDA, which was subsequently leaked. The agency on Friday postponed a decision [FDA news release] on whether to allow the Plan B [official website] pill to be sold without a prescription to women over age 16, despite advice by agency scientists that the pill was safe for adult women. Wood's e-mail said the recent agency delay contradicted recommendations by agency scientists and her commitment to improving women's health. The manufacturer of Plan B has sought approval for over-the-counter sales of the pill for the past two years, but it has encountered stiff opposition from those who consider the pill equivalent to abortion and question its safety. Plan B remains available with a doctor's prescription. The recent delay caught many by surprise after FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford [official profile] promised senators during his confirmation hearing [JURIST report] that he would issue a final decision by Sept. 1. AP has more.

 

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