FDA Facing Lawsuit Over Plan B

WASHINGTON -- Emergency contraceptive Plan B is again at the center of controversy.

WASHINGTON -- Emergency contraceptive Plan B is again at the center of controversy. Conservative organizations and other groups filed a federal lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration, Rockville, Md., to overturn its August approval of the contraceptive pill for over-the-counter use by women 18 and older. The Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America along with Safe Drugs for Women, all based here, and the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons, Tucson, Ariz., filed the suit saying the FDA lacks authority to approve the drug as OTC for some ages but not for others. Women 18 and over may obtain the drug without a prescription but not those under 18. It also alleges the FDA was not authorized to require the OTC drug be sold from behind the pharmacy counter. They also said manufacturer Barr Pharmaceuticals, Woodcliff Lake, N.J., did not establish Plan B as safe or effective. Prompted by some pharmacists‘ objections to selling Plan B, in a unanimous vote on April 12, Washington state‘s Board of Pharmacy ruled that pharmacists have a duty to fill lawful prescriptions, regardless of an individual pharmacist's personal objections to any particular medication. Individual cases of pharmacists refusing to dispense the pill to women 18 and over took place at Wal-Mart Stores, Bentonville, Ark., and a Kroger, Cincinnati, store in the months preceding the Washington state ruling. -- Wendy Toth