Monday, January 17, 2005

FDA's EC Decision

According to this report, the FDA could decide as early as this week if age-restricted OTC sale of emergency contraception (EC) will be allowed.

The good news: this will insure access to proper medical care for some women.

The bad news: millions will be barred from getting OTC EC for no other reason than their age. Hmm, isn't this age discrimination?

There's another aspect of this I hadn't even considered (emphasis mine):

The decision to reject Barr's first application led critics to say that the FDA was bending to conservative politics.

"A treatment for any other condition, from hangnail to headache to heart disease, with a similar record of safety and efficacy would be approved quickly," three physicians on the FDA advisory committee wrote in an editorial published by the New England Journal of Medicine (news - web sites) last April.

They said that requiring customers to prove their age or putting the drug behind the counter are steps "designed to intimidate women." The authors noted that the advisory committee rejected such moves.

"In this case, there is no medical dispute," the wrote. "Rather, the delay results from the concern of some groups ... that the availability of the drug may have a corrupting influence on sexual behavior. If easy access to the drug could have such an influence, it would seem that the battle had already been lost."


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