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FDA official resigns over delay in morning-after pill approval

[JURIST] A high-level Food and Drug Administration [official website] official resigned Wednesday to protest the agency's delay in deciding whether to approve emergency contraception pills for over-the-counter sale. Susan Wood, director of the FDA Office of Women's Health [official website], announced her resignation and reasoning in an e-mail to colleagues at the FDA, which was subsequently leaked. The agency on Friday postponed a decision [FDA news release] on whether to allow the Plan B [official website] pill to be sold without a prescription to women over age 16, despite advice by agency scientists that the pill was safe for adult women. Wood's e-mail said the recent agency delay contradicted recommendations by agency scientists and her commitment to improving women's health. The manufacturer of Plan B has sought approval for over-the-counter sales of the pill for the past two years, but it has encountered stiff opposition from those who consider the pill equivalent to abortion and question its safety. Plan B remains available with a doctor's prescription. The recent delay caught many by surprise after FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford [official profile] promised senators during his confirmation hearing [JURIST report] that he would issue a final decision by Sept. 1. AP has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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