FDA Panel Recommends Approval Of ellaOne Morning-after Contraceptive Pill

FDA Panel Recommends Approval Of ellaOne Morning-after Contraceptive Pill

Morning-after contraceptive pill, ellaOne, which could help prevent pregnancy if taken as late as five days after unprotected sex, was approved by a federal advisory panel. In a unanimous decision, the panel voted that the federal drug regulators should approve the medicine. Originally Ella was developed by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Ella was developed at government laboratories and apparently is better than Plan B, a morning-after pill available over the counter to women 18 and older and is effective if taken by the 3rd day of the intercourse. Plan B though is less effective by each passing day after intercourse while Ella remains just as effective on the 5th day as on the 1st.

Ella works by inhibiting the female hormone, progesterone that spurs ovulation. The chemical that inhibits the progesterone is similar to to RU-486, the abortion pill. This has given rise to a fierce debate over whether the pill should be categorized as an abortion pill. Pill manufacturer claims that the drug works by delaying ovulation while the anti abortion advocates are of the view that it works by preventing a fertilized egg from implanting itself in the uterus.

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According to, Dr. Jeffrey Bray, a pharmacologist at the Food and Drug Administration, Ella may be capable of doing both while Dr. Scott Emerson, a committee member and professor of biostatistics at the University of Washington, believes that any drug that can prevent pregnancy if taken five days after unprotected sex must do more than simply delay ovulation.

Ella is manufactured by HRA Pharma, a tiny French drug maker and has already been approved for sale in Europe last fall. The meeting became a place where anti abortion and abortion rights advocates exchanged heated words about the pros and cons of the pill.

“With Ella, women will be enticed to buy a poorly tested abortion pill in the guise of a morning-after pill,” she said. Ms. Wright was followed to the microphone by Amy Allina, program director of the National Women’s Health Network, who said abortion questions were distractions intended to prevent “medically safe contraceptive options from becoming available.”


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