FDA Rejects Over-the-Counter Status for Emergency Contraception
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last night announced that it was rejecting over-the-counter status for emergency contraception. This decision flies in the face of the FDA’s own expert advisory committees, which recommended 23-4 to approve over-the-counter status for the emergency contraceptive Plan B. The FDA had been under intense pressure from right-wing groups and anti-reproductive rights members of Congress to reject approval.
“The FDA, in rejecting its own expert advisory panels, is allowing right-wing politics to trump science at the expense of women’s health,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation. “In ignoring the more than one million women and men who rallied in support of reproductive rights at the March for Women’s Lives and the hundreds of women’s organizations that support over-the-counter emergency contraception, the FDA shows also contempt for public demand.”
The FDA sent a “Not Approvable” letter to Barr Laboratories, the distributors of Plan B, that gave two options for possible approval in the future. Either Barr could show that Plan B could be used safely by young women under the age of 16, or Barr could allow for the marketing of Plan B as a prescription-only drug for women under the age of 16 and a nonprescription drug for women 16 years and older, according to Barr.
“Emergency contraception is the moral property of women,” said Dr. Beth Jordan, MD, medical director of the Feminist Majority Foundation. “To bow to political pressure and withhold approval for over-the-counter status for EC will result in harming young women.”
The Feminist Majority Foundation leads a national drive on college campuses to increase the availability of EC for young women.