Monday, March 23, 2009

Judge Rules FDA Must Make Emergency Contraception Available to 17-Year-Olds

NY Times: Plan B Must Be Made Available to 17-Year-Olds, by Natasha Singer:

Plan B A federal judge on Monday ordered the Food and Drug Administration to make the Plan B morning-after birth control pill available without prescription to women as young as 17. The judge ruled the agency had improperly bowed to political pressure from the Bush Administration when it set 18 as the age limit in 2006.

The F.D.A. has 30 days to comply with the order, in which the judge also urged the agency to consider removing all restrictions on over-the-counter sales of Plan B. The drug consists of two pills that prevent conception if taken within 72 hours of sexual intercourse....

On Monday, in a decision that criticized former F.D.A. officials, United States District Judge Edward R. Korman, of the Eastern District Court of New York threw out the F.D.A. ruling.

Judge Korman wrote that F.D.A. officials repeatedly delayed action on the over-the-counter petition, moving only when members of Congress threatened to hold up confirmation hearings on acting F.D.A. commissioners, including Andrew C. von Eschenbach. Several officials also violated the agency’s own policies, the judge wrote.

Citing depositions in the case, Judge Korman wrote that agency officials improperly communicated with White House officials about Plan B. And F.D.A. employees sought to influence decisions by appointing people with anti-abortion views to an independent panel of experts reviewing Plan B for the agency, according to the judge.

The agency also departed from its normal procedures, the judge wrote, by ignoring favorable conclusions about the drug by an advisory panel as well its own scientists and officials who found that the drug could be safely used by women at least as young as 17.

Teenagers and Children | Permalink

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