Leaders at the nation’s largest drug companies offered a scathing response to a court decision invalidating the FDA’s approval of the abortion medication mifepristone.
More than 400 of the pharmaceutical industry’s top executives spoke out against the ruling made by Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas last Friday.
In their letter, published by The New York Times, the leaders called for the ruling to be reversed, claiming it “ignores decades of scientific evidence and legal precedent.”
The statement, which was signed by heads at Pfizer and Biogen, denounced the decision as an attempt to curtail the FDA’s autonomy, claiming any drug’s approval could be in jeopardy “if courts can overturn drug approvals without regard for science or evidence.”
Kacsmaryk ruled that the FDA improperly approved mifepristone for use in 2000, arguing that the agency “manipulated and misconstrued” their studies “to greenlight elective chemical abortions on a wide scale.”
The FDA has since defended mifepristone as a “safe and effective” option for early-term abortions.
Judge Kacsmaryk’s ruling is already being challenged in courts. A federal judge in Washington countered the decision in court on Friday, ruling to protect access to mifepristone. The Department of Justice also issued an immediate appeal.
Some Democratic politicians are calling for the Biden administration to ignore the ruling outright. On Sunday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) told CNN’s “State of the Union” that the White House has “discretion” over how to enforce the ruling.
That same day, U.S. Secretary Health and Human Services Xavier Beccera condemned the ruling as “reckless” on CNN, telling Dana Bash that the Biden administration was considering “every option” available.
HSS spokesperson Kamara Jones walked back the possibility later that day on Twitter, saying while people are “rightfully frustrated,” any interference would set a “dangerous a precedent” for the executive branch.
Though many red states have tried to limit abortion access, an increasing number of patients are turning to the pill to terminate pregnancies. Even before the fall of Roe v. Wade in 2022, it was estimated half of U.S. abortions were carried out via medication.