Lawsuit By Center for Reproductive Rights Exposes High-Level FDA Cover-Up

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Agency Decision Comes Weeks after Center Sought to Subpoena White House Documents, Lawsuit Testimony Shows Opposition by Agency Scientists to Arbitrary Age Limit
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New York, NY- Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration agreed to make Plan B available without a prescription, but only for women 18 and older and only behind the pharmacy counter. The move comes within weeks of the Center for Reproductive Rights' request to federal court to subpoena correspondence between the FDA and White House regarding Plan B and disclosures by FDA officials to the Center that the agency never intended to approve Plan B for over-the-counter status.

Nancy Northup, President of the Center for Reproductive Rights, issued this statement in response:

"Today, the FDA essentially denied true over-the-counter access to Plan B by limiting its availability to women 18 and over and placing it behind the pharmacy counters. Months of testimony and discovery in our lawsuit show that the agency never intended to fairly consider the scientific evidence that Plan B is safe and effective for women of all ages and that high-level officials engaged in an intricate cover-up that culminated with today's decision.

"Depositions in our lawsuit against the FDA continue to unearth a tangled web of deceit and obfuscation behind-the-scenes in which agency officials, acting under outside political influences, made a compromise to circumvent regulations, ignore its scientific experts, and delay any action on Plan B for as long as possible, then only grant limited access.

"As a result, the FDA has not only acted unlawfully, but chosen to abandon young women-the most vulnerable population-and left them to jump through hoops to get access to emergency contraception .

"While the FDA continues to serve as a pawn in the Bush Administration's political agenda, we will push ahead and pursue our lawsuit, fighting for the health and well-being of all women." For key excerpts from newly released depositions from Dr. John Jenkins, director of the Office of New Drugs and Dr. Susan Wood, former director of the Office of Women's Health, please go to: