Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Another Bush Flunky Gets Spanked

After resigining from office suddenly, which is in keeping with the Bushco tradition (see Gale Norton and Porter Goss), former FDA head Lester Crawford is currently facing jail time (it's kind of scary to be linking to Fox on this, I know).

Let’s see...conflict of interest and falsely reporting information about stocks he owned in food, beverage and medical device companies that he was in charge of regulating – yep, that’s about the typical Bushco “M.O.” all right.

The biggest problem I have with this guy doesn’t have anything to do with this, nor does it involve his alleged extramarital affair (noted here), as well his ineffective response to the flu vaccine shortage last year, though that is a close second (has ANYONE in this administration whose overseen the FDA managed to get this right? We have chronic shortages every year!).

The real issue as far as I’m concerned has to do with his denial of over-the-counter status for Plan B emergency contraception. As this linked text from Planned Parenthood notes:

On December 16, 2003, a joint hearing of the FDA Nonprescription Drugs and Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committees voted 23 to four to recommend that the FDA make EC available over the counter. Virtually all major medical and health care organizations, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, supported the move.

But on May 6, 2004, in flagrant disregard of this scientific consensus, the FDA notified Barr Laboratories, which manufactures Plan B, that its application for over-the-counter status had been denied, citing concerns about adolescent use. It conveniently overlooked studies showing that EC is safe for younger women and that they use EC responsibly. Studies also show that access to EC does not increase or encourage sexual activity among teens.

In response to the decision, Barr Laboratories submitted a revised application to the FDA, asking that EC be made available without a prescription to women 16 and older. (Teens 15 and younger would still need a prescription to obtain it.) The FDA had been asked to respond to this application by January 20, 2005, but, in a highly unusual move, it missed the deadline. At the time, the agency indicated that review of the medication was expected to be completed in the near future but did not specify a date.

The FDA, with Crawford at the helm, had two options — one was clearly rooted in science, the other in ideology. It chose ideology, bowing to anti-choice pressures and denying over-the-counter status to EC. The FDA is an agency that should be championing science. Under Crawford's leadership, science has been compromised. But Crawford's decision should not be surprising since the man who appointed him chooses, at every opportunity, to replace sound science with right-wing extremism.
So he endangered women’s health because of his own supposed “religious” agenda.

And the Senate voted 78-16 to confirm this guy (here is a report on how emergency contraception has been hopelessly politicized by the band of hypocrites currently running our government).

In the event of a guilty verdict and a sentence of what likely would be a year in prison, Crawford will no doubt have time to contemplate all of this; all of his insider “fox guarding the hen house” dealings will be of no use to him whatsoever at that point.

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