Commissioner of FDA Resigns
Planned Parenthood Demands Return to Science and Public Health Focus, Not Politics and Ideology
NEW YORK, NY — Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) Interim President Karen Pearl today issued the following statement regarding the resignation of Lester Crawford, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA):
"Women's health suffered under Dr. Crawford's tenure. The FDA has ignored its public health responsibilities, repeatedly refusing to issue a decision on the application to make Plan B emergency contraception (EC) available over the counter. During more than two years that the application has been pending, greater access to EC could have prevented 3.4 million unintended pregnancies and 1.6 million abortions*.
"The FDA has become a politicized agency and has ignored its mandate to safeguard the public health. In the process it has lost the credibility and respect it has traditionally enjoyed. The resignation of Dr. Susan Wood from the FDA's Office of Women's Health in protest over the delay in issuing a decision on EC was further proof of the politics that had trumped science under Dr. Crawford's tenure. Causing further confusion and illustrating its internal disarray, only last week, in quick succession, the FDA named two acting directors to replace Dr. Wood.
"The FDA has led an ideologically motivated effort to keep a safe and effective drug out of women's hands. We are hopeful that this resignation signals a new day for the FDA, one in which the FDA will resume its public health responsibilities and make decisions focused on science, not politics."
* Glasier, Anna & David Baird. (1998). "The Effects of Self-Administering Emergency Contraception." New England Journal of Medicine, 339(1), 1-4.
* Van Look, Paul F.A. & Felicia Stewart. (1998). "Emergency Contraception." Pp. 277-295 in Robert A. Hatcher et al., eds., Contraceptive Technology, 17th edition. New York: Ardent Media.