Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Editorial in the Chicago Tribune -- A reversal on breast implants:
It took nearly 15 years, but last week, the Food and Drug Administration essentially admitted that it made a mistake when it outlawed silicone breast implants on grounds of safety, deciding to repeal the ban at last.
It's a good day for women who would like access to these devices for reconstructive or cosmetic purposes, and a good day for anyone who thinks individuals should be free to assess risks and make their own choices. But it comes a decade and a half too late for women who were deprived of a largely safe option because of fears that now turn out to be mostly groundless.
Back in the early 1990s, panic-mongers sounded alarms about all the horrors awaiting any woman getting silicone implants--cancer, connective tissue disorders, chronic fatigue and more. Even though more than a million women had them, and even though the great majority expressed satisfaction, the FDA under Commissioner David Kessler ordered them off the market. The only exception was for women getting them for reconstruction after cancer surgery, and then only in rigidly controlled, FDA-approved clinical trials. He acted against the unanimous recommendation of his agency's own expert panel.