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FDA planned to approve morning-after pill, ex-commissioner testifies

[JURIST] A former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration [official website] testified in a deposition [text, PDF] that the agency postponed a decision to allow over-the-counter sales of Plan B emergency contraceptives [product backgrounder] while it considered how to restrict nonprescription access only to females 17 and older. Dr. Lester Crawford [official profile], a veterinarian who led the FDA for three months before resigning [JURIST report] amid charges that the delay was politically motivated [JURIST report], said the announcement last August was not intended to be a denial of over-the-counter sales. Rather, he expected then that the FDA would resolve the enforcement issue within six to nine months. A Government Accountability Office report [PDF] released in November characterized the FDA's review of Plan B as procedurally "unusual" [JURIST report]. The Center for Reproductive Rights [advocacy website] has sued the FDA in US District Court for the Eastern District of New York [official website] to allow over-the-counter sales of Plan B for all ages.

Separately, Crawford is under criminal investigation [JURIST report] by a grand jury for alleged financial wrongdoing and making false statements to Congress. The Center for Reproductive Rights is scheduled to depose [press release] Crawford's predecessor as FDA commissioner, Dr. Mark McClellan [official profile, PDF], on Tuesday. The lawsuit is Tummino v. Von Eschenbach [CRR materials]. AP has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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