August 24, 2006
FDA’s Delay on Plan B Contraceptive Pill Is Another Black Mark Against Troubled Watchdog Agency
Statement of Dr. Sidney Wolfe, Director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group
The Food and Drug Administration’s inexcusable delay in approving over-the-counter sales of Plan B, the “morning after” pill, has caused more damage to its reputation and public confidence in the agency. The delay was caused by political pressure from social conservatives and the religious right that trumped scientific judgment, inevitably resulting in many abortions in women who otherwise would not have become pregnant.
The troubled agency is already under fire for accepting as much as $380 million a year in users’ fees from industries it is regulating, and allowing dangerous drugs on the market that 15 years ago would either have been banned or not approved in the first place. Some in the agency view industry as a client, clearly ignoring the inherent conflict of interest. The FDA’s watchdog function and the public’s health will continue to suffer because politics and profit margins have increasingly replaced science in decision-making.