The wimpy approval of OTC status today for Plan B emergency contraception only for women 18 and older has me nonplussed.
I’ve been disgusted by the intrusion of politics into science and medicine on this issue for quite some time.
As some Terra Sig readers know, a major network news outlet keeps the real Dr Pharmboy on their experts list for commentary on pharmacotherapy issues but my exact comments rarely make it on-air. Perhaps these will be inflammatory enough to get a call to be on this time, and then you’ll all know who I am. (No, I am not Dr Raymond Woosley, but I wish I were.)
So here are my comments, verbatim, so that someone at least benefits from my bile-spewing:
Firstly, I am relieved that Plan B has been approved for women 18 or older – this decision should have been made almost two years ago and I regret how many unnecessary abortions were required as a result of political interference in the scientific process at FDA, not to mention the unnecessary need for the resignation of Dr Susan Wood.
Moreover, it is a travesty and miscarriage of the scientific and medical deliberative process that Plan B is not being made available OTC to women of 14 or 16. There is adequate evidence that it is safe and does NOT encourage sexually promiscuous behavior in teenage women. I would argue that younger, sexually-active women in their teenage years are most in need of free, unfettered access to Plan B, even if they simply have to ask pharmacists for the medicine, just as we do with pseudoephedrine.
The request that Duramed/Barr modify their application to FDA was a clear tactic to manipulate the Senate hearings for the nomination of Dr. von Eschenbach as FDA director to create a situation that appeases as many senators as possible. A more brave, scientifically-sound decision, that is respectful of womens’ reproductive rights would have been to make Plan B available without prescription to women 14 and older.