WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) — More than 200 pharmaceutical executives including Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla have signed an open letter condemning a federal judge’s ruling against the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) approval of the abortion drug mifepristone.
On April 7, Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk issued an order suspending the FDA’s approval of the abortion drug, finding the agency did not adequately investigate its long-term effects. The same day, Judge Judge Thomas Rice ruled that the pill should remain on the market in 15 states plus the District of Columbia.
“The Court does not second-guess FDA’s decision-making lightly,” Kacsmaryk wrote. “But here, FDA acquiesced on its legitimate safety concerns — in violation of its statutory duty — based on plainly unsound reasoning and studies that did not support its conclusions.”
The Biden administration challenged the ruling, and on Wednesday night a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals partially blocked Kacsmaryk’s decision, ruling that mifepristone should remain available but keeping suspended the administration’s approval of dispensing it via the mail. On Friday, the administration asked the U.S. Supreme Court to step in.
The open letter by Big Pharma leaders emphasizes that Kacsmaryk has “no scientific training,” claims mifepristone “has been proven by decades of data to be safer than Tylenol, nearly all antibiotics and insulin,” and complain that the ruling “ has set a precedent for diminishing FDA’s authority over drug approvals, and in so doing, creates uncertainty for the entire biopharma industry.”
Signatories include Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, which is responsible for one of the controversial COVID-19 vaccines currently used in the United States, and has been accused of evading transparency and accountability in its COVID work. Others to sign on it include officials from Merck, Genentech, and Biogen,
Notably, the heads of COVID vaccine developers Moderna and Johnson & Johnson did not sign the letter, and did not respond to requests for comment from CNBC.
“The FDA is the gold standard for determining whether a medicine is safe and effective for people to use,” said Priscilla VanderVeer, vice president of public affairs for pharmaceutical industry lobbying group PhRMA. “While PhRMA and our members are not a party to this litigation, our focus is on ensuring a policy environment that supports the agency’s ability to regulate and provides access to FDA-approved medicines.”
Despite Big Pharma’s embrace of mifepristone and the FDA, evidence shows that abortion pills carry specific risks for the mothers who take them (on top of being lethal to their preborn children), especially when the standards for taking them continue to be relaxed.
A 2020 open letter from a coalition of pro-life groups to then-FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn noted that the FDA’s own adverse reporting system says the “abortion pill has resulted in over 4,000 reported adverse events since 2000, including 24 maternal deaths. Adverse events are notoriously underreported to the FDA, and as of 2016, the FDA only requires abortion pill manufacturers to report maternal deaths.”
Pro-lifers warn that with the Biden administration completely eliminating requirements that abortion pills be taken under any medical supervision or with medical support close by, those events are certain to increase.
“A November 2021 study by Charlotte Lozier Institute scholars appeared in the peer-reviewed journal Health Services Research and Managerial Epidemiology,” writes Catholic University of America research associate Michael New. “They analyzed state Medicaid data of over 400,000 abortions from 17 states that fund elective abortions through their Medicaid programs. They found that the rate of abortion-pill-related emergency-room visits increased over 500 percent from 2002 through 2015. The rate of emergency-room visits for surgical abortions also increased during the same time period, but by a much smaller margin.’”
Yet the White House and the abortion lobby have determined that, with the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturn of Roe v. Wade last summer restoring states’ ability to decide their own abortion laws, easy distribution of abortion pills will be one of their chief methods of preserving abortion “access.” In November 2022, Operation Rescue reported that a net decrease of 36 abortion facilities in 2022 has led to the lowest number in almost 50 years, but the chemical abortion business has “surged,” with 64 percent of new facilities built last year specializing in dispensing mifepristone and misoprostol.
Other left-wing strategies to promote abortion “access” include legal protection and financial support of interstate abortion travel, attempting to enshrine “rights” to the practice in state constitutions, and attempting to construct new abortion facilities near borders shared by pro-life and pro-abortion states.
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden has called on Congress to codify a “right” to abortion in federal law, which would not only restore but expand the Roe status quo by making it illegal for states to pass virtually any pro-life laws. Democrats currently lack the votes to do so, but whether they get those votes is sure to be one of the major issues of the 2024 elections.