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July 1999: Plan B gets FDA approval for use as a prescription emergency contraceptive.

December 2000: The American Medical Association announces their support for over the counter access to emergency contraceptives.

April 2003: Over the counter application for Plan B is filed.

December 16, 2003: FDA Advisory panel votes 23 to4 to recommend approval of over the counter application for Plan B.

February 2004: FDA failed to meet the statutory deadline for making a decision on Plan B.

May 2004: The FDA sends “not approvable” letter for Plan B because of unprecedented concerns about teen use of the drug.

July 2004: Over the counter application is resubmitted with proposed age cut off of 16 years old for over the counter sales.

January 2005: FDA fails to meet the statutory deadline for deciding on reapplication for over the counter approval.

January 21, 2005: The Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit against the FDA for failing to approve Plan B.

April 2005: Senators Clinton (D-NY) and Murray (D-WA) say they will block confirmation of Dr. Lester Crawford as FDA commissioner until the agency issues a decision on Plan B.

July 2005: Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt sends a letter to the Senate stating that the FDA will make a final decision on Plan B by September 1. Senators Clinton and Murray agree to unblock the confirmation of Dr. Crawford.

July 18, 2005: Dr. Crawford is confirmed as the FDA Commissioner by the Senate.

August 2005: FDA Commissioner Crawford sent a letter to Senator Murray stating that Plan B is safe for over-the-counter use of girls 17 and older.

August 26, 2005: The FDA announced that it needs to delay the decision on Plan B to consider how to write rules to enforce the proposed age restrictions.

August 31, 2005: Dr. Susan Wood, Director of FDA’s Office of Women’s Health, resigns in disgust over the delayed decision on Plan B.

September 2005: FDA Commissioner Crawford resigns. President Bush names Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach, then Director of the National Cancer Institute, as acting director.

October 10, 2005: Dr. Frank Davidoff, a member of the FDA’s Nonprescription Drug Advisory Committee, resigns in disgust over the delayed decision on Plan B.

November 15, 2005: The Government Accountability Office releases a scathing report calling the Plan B decision “highly unusual” and notes that the decision was likely made before scientific review had taken place.

March 2006: Senators Clinton (D-NY) and Murray (D-WA) say they will block confirmation of Dr. von Eschenbach as FDA commissioner until the agency issues a decision on Plan B.

May 19, 2006: The FDA receives a final report from the contractor they hired to summarize the 47,000 comments on the possibility of a new rule to handle age restrictions for Plan B.

July 31, 2006: FDA announces that they do not need new rules to handle the age restriction on Plan B one year after announcing that they needed to consider new rules and that they would enter talks with the manufacturer to discuss revising the age restriction to 18 before approval. Senators Clinton and Murray announce that they will continue to block Dr. von Eschenbach’s confirmation because of continued delays and politics relating to Plan B.

August 1, 2006: Dr. von Eschenbach appears in a scheduled confirmation hearing before the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions committee. No confirmation vote is held.

August 3, 2006: The Center for Reproductive Rights releases copies of deposition from FDA scientists revealing that the White House had undue influence on the decision to reject the over the counter application for Plan B.

Originally published August 9, 2006


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