Real reform at the FDA is being held hostage to politics. People putting a hold on comfirming Andy von Eschenbach claim a permanent commish is important but that it doesn’t trump politicizing Plan B for the sake of political gain.
In fairness, abortion activists see the Plan B decision — dodged earlier by the FDA — as a line in the sand. They have some science on their side. But some of the same people invoking SCIENCE in defense of Plan B also want to impose an artificially rigid standard on what drugs to approve and want to use the FDA as entity for making one size fits all comparative judgements about medicines when science is moving in the direction of personalized medicine. (That means you Senator Clinton.)
What about this as a principle … the FDA and critics on both sides stop trying to use the agency to engineer social policy and simply approve medicines on the best available evidence. Let people decide and promote the use of better tools and techniques for determining which medicines work best for which people. Let’s do a better job not only developing new medicines but using them when and if appropriate. That’s a responsibility everyone has.
In the meantime, let Plan B free and then let the market, physicians, parents and public health officials make the decisions people on both sides of this issue want the FDA to make. Going forward, let’s put politicians and the media on notice when they use and twist the science of drug development for political purposes. If the medical science supports the use of certain drugs or devices in groups of people, let them on the market and then let’s continue to study how they work and for who. Let’s substitute real science for junk politics when it comes to the FDA once and for all.