WASHINGTON, DC — A key women's health expert at the FDA, Dr. Susan Wood, assistant commissioner for women's health and director of the Office of Women's Health at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), resigned today in protest of the FDA's handling of the application to make Plan B emergency contraception (EC) available over the counter.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America Interim President Karen Pearl issued these comments on the resignation:
"Anti-choice fingerprints have been all over the FDA approval process of over-the-counter access for EC since day one. The FDA announcement Friday of another delay was further evidence of a clear political overreach. The scientific facts are clear: EC is safe, effective and meets all FDA criteria for over-the-counter status. Every woman at risk of unintended pregnancy should have immediate access to EC — no prescription, no hassle, no delay.
"The FDA has a long road ahead to restore its credibility with women's health care providers like Planned Parenthood. We applaud Dr. Wood for taking a stand against the agency's shameful failure to uphold its public health responsibility."
Dr Wood's announcement read in part, "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. I therefore have submitted my resignation effective today."
Last Friday, the FDA yet again delayed issuing a decision on the application to make Plan B emergency contraception available over the counter despite the overwhelming scientific evidence showing emergency contraception to be safe, effective and meeting all FDA criteria for over-the-counter status.
"We want to thank Susan Wood for her years of service to the FDA and for standing up for the health and safety of American women," Pearl said.
May 12, 2014