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Murray Withdraws Plan B Amendment

Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) withdrew an amendment last week that would have funded an investigation into the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) continued delays on the application to make the emergency contraceptive Plan B available without over the counter. Her decision came shortly after Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) threatened to attach an amendment to the same appropriations bill that would have asked for an investigation into the FDA’s approval of mifepristone (the early abortion pill).

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has already conducted an investigation into the FDA’s delaying approval of emergency contraception for over-the-counter usage, but FDA Week reports that, according to a Congressional source, the FDA has asked the GAO to delay releasing the report. The Health and Human Services (HHS) Inspector General is also investigating the sudden resignation of FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford, who told Forbes.com that controversies over Plan B and mifepristone played a role in his decision.

Susan Wood, the director of the FDA’s Office on Women’s Health, also resigned recently in protest over the FDA’s continued delay on EC. “I have spent the last 15 years working to ensure that science informs good health policy decisions. 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,” Wood wrote in her letter of resignation.

Sources:

FDA Week 11/4/05; Kaiser WomenÕs Health Policy Report 11/8/05; Forbes.com 9/28/05