The Government Accountability Office released a blistering 62-page report yesterday, charging that the Food and Drug Administration did not follow its own procedures when it denied women access to the morning-after pill, Plan B, through drugstore sales.
In May 2004, the FDA denied over-the-counter sales of the high-dose birth control pills that can be used after intercourse to prevent pregnancy, despite the recommendations of two scientific advisory panels that it be sold without a prescription. The FDA staff experts concurred.
The GAO investigation indicated that the FDA decision may have been made by Bush administration political appointees at the head of the agency before the experts finished their analyses.
Four FDA division directors reported to the GAO that Mark McClellan, the FDA commissioner at the time, had decided that drugstore sales would be denied.
"They were told by high-level management that the Plan B OTC (over-the-counter) switch application would be denied months before staff had completed their reviews of the application," said the GAO report, prepared by its director of health care, Marcia Crosse.
Crosse reported that higher-level management denied this allegation. McClellan refused to be interviewed, as did Lester Crawford, then the deputy commissioner, who denied involvement with the decision-making process through his lawyer.
It never ceases to amaze me that these guys try to get their corrupt, grubby paws all over everything--Tomlinson
at CPB, McClellan at the FDA, it never ends. The disconnect between their message of "Law & Order" and their utter disdain for rules and laws that they find to be inconvenient is a portrait of systemwide sociopathy.