FDA: New "morning-after" pill appears safe, effective

A controversial new "morning-after" pill developed by HRA Pharma appears to work effectively and without any unexpected side effects, according to the FDA staffers who examined the drug application.

The drug, dubbed Ella, works within five days of unprotected intercourse, said the agency review, which comes just ahead of a panel review on Thursday. The drug, which is already on the market in Europe, has triggered a renewed firestorm of controversy, with conservative groups in a fury over the prospect that Watson Pharmaceuticals could be on the verge of winning an approval. Critics maintain that the drug is too close to the abortion pill RU-486, or mifepristone.

"With ulipristal, women will be enticed to buy a poorly tested abortion drug, unaware of its medical risks, under the guise that it's a morning-after pill," Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America told the Washington Post last week.

When Plan B was up for an FDA review, conservative groups raised a hue and cry over the social implications of a pill that prevented pregnancy up to 72 hours after unprotected sex. But the Obama administration has made it clear that they intend to separate ideology from science in their drug reviews.

- read the story from Reuters
- here's the article from the Washington Post