Bloomberg News

Obama Says He’s ‘Comfortable’ With FDA Decision on Plan B Pill

May 02, 2013

President Barack Obama said he’s “comfortable” with the Food and Drug Administration’s decision to clear the Plan B One-Step emergency contraceptive for sale without A prescription on pharmacy shelves to girls as young as age 15.

The FDA cleared Petach Tikva, Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (TEVA) to expand access to its so-called morning-after pill after previously denying the company’s request to make it available to all females of reproductive age.

A federal judge on April 5 ordered the FDA to make emergency contraception available nationwide without limits within 30 days. The Justice Department filed a notice yesterday in federal court that it’s appealing the ruling.

Obama said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius reviewed the FDA decision.

“She’s comfortable with. I’m comfortable with it,” Obama said in response to a question at a news conference in Mexico City with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

The pill and its generic copies have been kept behind drug store counters and sold without a prescription to women 17 and older. Government statistics show that more women are turning to emergency contraception, even as reproductive rights become embroiled in controversy after the 2010 Affordable Care Act required some employers to pay for preventive services.

He said the FDA decision was based on “solid, scientific evidence.”

Obama said the appeal of the judge’s ruling was a “Justice Department decision. My understanding is part of it has to do with the precedent and the way in which the judge handled that case.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Lisa Lerer in Mexico City at llerer@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Komarow at skomarow1@bloomberg.net


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