On Friday, August 18, Barr Laboratories asked the US Food and Drugs Administration to reconsider its application to make its Plan B contraceptive available over the counter. According to FierceBiotech’s John Carroll, “Given the FDA’s sudden willingness to work out a marketing plan for the contraceptive, Barr has a good shot at finally obtaining an approval that should have come through in 2004.” Carroll reckons that the FDA now has the opportunity to show the US that science and not ideology controls how therapeutics are reviewed. “Given the Bush administration’s clear preference for ideology,” Carroll says, “the FDA may have more difficulties ahead. But for now, there’s reason for hope.”
Plan B is an “emergency” contraceptive, backup birth control, in other words, a form of contraception often referred to as a morning after pill. It comes in the form of two levonorgestrel pills, which are taken orally after unprotected sex. Plan B reduces the risk of pregnancy. Those who oppose it on ideological grounds posit that it is tantamount to an abortion despite the fact that the timescale within which it must be used can be shorter than the time within which conception generally occurs.
More on Plan B from the FDA here. The FDA announced at the end of July that, “It is proceeding to work with [Barr] to resolve the remaining policy issues associated with the marketing of Plan B as an over-the-counter option.”
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