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03.15.06 - New York, NY-Today, the state of Wisconsin filed legal documents with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York seeking to join the Center for Reproductive Rights' lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration over the emergency contraceptive Plan B. The Center's suit demands that the agency make Plan B, commonly known as the "morning-after pill," available without a prescription.
"We are pleased that Wisconsin is championing the interests of women in their state by seeking to join the Center's lawsuit. Our suit has argued from the beginning that the FDA is breaking its own rules by repeatedly failing to make Plan B available without a prescription, and the Wisconsin attorney general has recognized that," said Nan Strauss, staff attorney at the Center. "The Agency should not only explain itself, but it should do the right thing and increase access to Plan B for women across the country."
Wisconsin Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager filed to intervene on the case this morning. Wisconsin is seeking to be named as plaintiffs on the case Tummino, et al. v. Andrew C. Von Eschenbach, but will be represented by their own attorneys.
The Center for Reproductive Rights filed the lawsuit on January 21, 2005. The suit argues that the FDA is failing to follow its own procedures and statutory and regulatory mandates by ignoring overwhelming scientific research proving the emergency contraceptive effective and safe for self-medication and by holding the drug to a different standard than other drugs sold without a prescription.
The case is currently in the discovery phase, following a decision by a New York federal court to deny the government's request for a protective order to block that process. The Center has requested documents from the government. Once those materials are received, the attorneys will begin scheduling depositions of high level FDA officials such as former FDA Commissioners Mark McClellan and Lester Crawford.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York on behalf of the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals (ARHP), National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, and individuals from a grassroots advocacy group, the Morning-After Pill Conspiracy.