Sept. 2, 2005 – Citing political interference in issuing rules for the sale of emergency contraception, the head of the womenâ€™s health section of the Food and Drug Administration resigned her position Wednesday. The move followed last Fridayâ€™s announcement by FDA Commissioner Lester M. Crawford that the agency was delaying a much-anticipated decision on whether to allow over-the-counter sales of the pregnancy-prevention drug.
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Crawford said there will be a 60-day public comment period on implementing a prescription-free plan for emergency contraception sales, despite acknowledging that medical science clearly proves the treatment is safe for women 16 and older, as The NewStandard reported Monday.
The agencyâ€™s own scientific advisory panels have urged that the pills be made available over the counter to all ages, but the FDA has insisted it wants to devise a plan to prevent women under sixteen years of age from obtaining them without a doctorâ€™s note.
In an e-mail to fellow FDA staff, Susan F. Wood, a five-year employee of the agency who headed the Office of Women's Health, said her decision to leave came about because "scientific and clinical evidence, fully evaluated and recommended for approval by the professional staff here, has been overruled," the Washington Post reported yesterday.
The FDA termed Woodâ€™s resignation "unfortunate" and maintained it is "committed to protecting and advancing women's health," according to the Post.