11/09/2004

Stop Dr. Hager's Appointment to FDA Committee? - BreakTheChain.org

Stop Dr. Hager's Appointment to FDA Committee? - BreakTheChain.org: "n early October, 2002, Time magazine and the New York Times both reported that the Bush Administration planned to appoint Dr. W. David Hager, a Kentucky Gynocologist, as the head of the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) panel on women's reproductive issues. The news got instant responses from the National Organization for Women, the Coalition for Women's Health and other advocates for reproductive rights because of Hager's history of mixing science with religion in his practice.

On October 17, CBS news reported that, though he was being considered to serve on the committee, he was not in line to head it up. They also noted that the committee would be influential, but would make no binding decisions. On Christmas Eve, 2002, the FDA announced the appointment of 11 physicians to the Advisory Committee for Reproductive Health Drugs. Hager was among the doctors selected, but Dr. Linda C. Giudice, M.D., Ph.D., of Stanford University Medical Center chairs the committee. In June 2004, Hager's appointment was extended for an additional year.

Hager is indeed a very conservatively oriented physician. However, since his initial appointment, Hager has publicly denied many of the claims made in the chain letter above. Specifically:

* While he prescribes abstinence, he does not refuse to prescribe birth control to unmarried women (a few of his former employees have claimed that they personally witnessed him refuse patient's requests for birth control, but we don't know all of the circumstances in those cases).

* He claims his opposition to the so-called abortion drug, RU-486, is less about morals and more about concern that the drug is unsafe, claiming it was given a fast-track to FDA approval.

Hager has already served nearly two years on the committee and will remain for one more. It remains to be seen if his service will have the deleterious effects on women's rights this chain letter claims he will, but we do know that the message was written before his term began and can safely be labeled 'outdated.' Sending letters and making calls to the White House are unlikely to have much influence in preventing an appointment that is a two-year old 'done deal.' Break this chain."

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