Mediamatters.org states that in an August 7 editorial, The Washington Times made two false claims regarding Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Patty Murray’s (D-WA) Senate “holds” on Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach’s nomination to head the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Times falsely claimed that “[t]he FDA and von Eschenbach have decided that women 18 and over should have … access” to the contraceptive pill known as Plan B, “while younger women can still get it with a prescription.” In fact, the FDA has not “decided” anything; instead, the agency has announced it will “proceed to work” with Plan B’s manufacturer, Barr Pharmaceuticals, to “discuss” a “framework for potential approvability” of allowing women 18 and over to obtain Plan B without a prescription.
The editorial also claimed that Clinton and Murray are “blocking the nomination until the FDA agrees to make the contraceptive Plan B … available without a prescription and without any restrictions on age or access.” But that is not what the two senators have said. They issued a press release demanding only that the FDA reach a final decision on the issue.
The blog cites our op-ed of the same day as the source of these ‘falsehoods’ so let us clarify: In his testimony Andy clearly stated that he had decided on an 18 and over OTC restriction and there was a lot of questioning about that decision. As to the Clinton and Murray stance. it is quite clear that if it was simply a matter of a decision, yes or no, the 2004 decision “no” decision would have been the end of the matter…But it was not. Citing the GAO report on the Plan B decision — excuse us — the LA Times spin on the GAO report — Mediamatters claims that federal drug regulators compromised their usual science-based decision-making process…”.. To which I have always said, what about the home HIV test that was held up on policy grounds under the Clinton administration FDA? What about limits on tobacco? Does anyone really believe that a hold would be lifted if the FDA issued a “no” or “yes, but” decision? Would the folks at mediamatters claim that the decisionmaking was science-based unless the decision was yes, yes, yes…?
Drugwonks was not born yesterday.