- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 22, 2003

A small pharmaceutical company said yesterday it would ask the Food and Drug Administration to permit the over-the-counter sale of its emergency contraceptive pill, a move that pro-life advocates said they would fight.
The pill, manufactured by Women's Capital Corporation, is called Plan B and was approved by the FDA for prescription use in 1999.
It contains the same hormones found in other oral contraceptives, except at higher doses, and can prevent pregnancy if taken within 72 hours after unprotected sexual intercourse occurs.
"Women are having difficulty getting a prescription and getting it filled within the 72 hours they need to start treatment," Sharon Camp, WCC's founder and chief executive officer, told United Press International.
"It really needs to be out there on the shelves on the … morning after the condom breaks," she said. "I don't see why anyone would be opposed to it. This is not an abortion pill. It's an anti-abortion pill. It will prevent pregnancy, and if we can prevent pregnancy, we will prevent abortions."
WCC, which is located in Washington and was founded in 1997, has submitted a 15,000-page application to the federal government containing clinical data on almost 11,000 women who have used the progestin-based pill.
The studies show when used correctly, Plan B reduces the number of pregnancies by 89 percent and is most effective when used within 24 hours after sex. The treatment, dubbed the "morning-after pill," works by preventing a fertilized egg from attaching to the womb.
Miss Camp said if the FDA approves her company's application, women could see Plan B available on store shelves as early as next year.
There will be hurdles to overcome, however.
Judie Brown, president of the American Life League, said her group and other pro-life organizations will lobby the FDA to prevent the over-the-counter sales.
"Plan B is one of the highly marketed products by Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion groups," Mrs. Brown said. "I don't see any reason why the FDA would provide over-the-counter access to a chemical that can kill people. It's a human embryo whose life is taken by these pills."
Mrs. Brown added: "I see the FDA making an effort to act responsibly on what it does on behalf of mothers and I see the FDA, therefore, rejecting this proposal."
All forms of oral contraception currently require a doctor's prescription.
Dr. Jeffrey Waldman, medical director for Planned Parenthood, said over-the-counter use is appropriate because there is no known ill effect to the woman or to a developing fetus that already has implanted itself in the uterus the step in pregnancy that the pill prevents.



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