Thursday, September 01, 2005

Director of FDA's Office of Women's Health Resigns

In another chapter of the saga of levonorgestrel , Plan B™, Dr. Susan F. Wood, Assistant F.D.A. Commissioner and Director of FDA's Office of Women's Health, has resigned over the FDA’s decision to delay, again, OTC sales of the emergency contraceptive. She says, "I can no longer serve as staff when scientific and clinical evidence, fully evaluated and recommended for approval by the professional staff here, has been overruled"… "The recent decision announced by the Commissioner about emergency contraception, which continues to limit women's access to a product that would reduce unintended pregnancies and reduce abortions, is contrary to my core commitment to improving and advancing women's health." Besides allowing greater access, making levonorgestrel available OTC would avoid the problems associated with some pharmacists' claim to a right not to dispense prescriptions for substances that are against their personal and religious values. A new voice in this debate can be heard today in a NYTimes editorial piece called,“Prescription for Injustice.” Florence Ruderman relates the story of a pharmacist who refused to fill a prescription for morphine for her father who was dying of cancer.

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