Science, Politics and the Food and Drug Administration

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The mission of the Food and Drug Administration is protection of public health and welfare. To accomplish that, the agency regulates no less than one fourth of all consumer products sold in the United States. Despite the agency's approval yesterday to sell Plan B, the "morning-after" contraceptive pill over the counter, controversy over the FDA will go on for a long time. Religious conservatives claim the pill invites promiscuity and sexually transmitted disease. Women’s rights advocates don't like the age limit of 18. We hear those arguments and look at the broader debate about FDA's ability to protect public health and welfare. Are its decisions based on science or religion and ideology? Is it a captive of the wealthy and powerful interests it's supposed to monitor and control? (An extended version of this discussion originally aired earlier today on To the Point.)




Warren Olney


Frances Anderton