FDA Commissioner Andrew C von Eschenbach announced on Friday that Dr. Steven Galson has been appointed as the new Acting Surgeon General. Galson begins the new position October 1, 2007. He previously served as the Acting Director at the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER).
While at CDER, Galson was one of the Bush appointees responsible for years of delay in approving Plan B for over the counter use. He also took part in creating and placing Plan B in a new class of drug that does not require a prescription for women over 18, must be dispensed by a pharmacist, and requires a dual label for the over- and under-18 markets. These age and label restrictions were met with frustration by reproductive-rights groups due to the lack of scientific evidence for such requirements.
By Galson ignoring senior FDA scientist’s recommendation to approve Plan B for over the counter use for all ages, he contributed to the Bush administration’s political interference in the approval of Plan B. Rather than be penalized for ignoring science he has just been rewarded with his new Surgeon General position for upholding the Bush administration’s anti-women agenda. Galson’s reputation at CDER raises questions about his ability as Surgeon General to make decisions independent from the Bush administration for the good of the American public, especially women.