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Former FDA commissioner Lester Crawford shut out two senior agency officials from his decision to postpone action on Barr Pharmaceuticals' Plan B emergency contraceptive, legal depositions released last week showed.
Transcripts of the sworn statements were released by the non-profit Center for Reproductive Rights, which sued the FDA claiming the agency let political opposition to Plan B interfere with science.
According to the depositions, Dr. Steven Galson, director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, testified that around January 2005 he was leaning toward approving Barr's Plan B for OTC sale but was told by Crawford "that he was concerned about where we were heading because he knew that I was heading towards this recommendation ... he told me he was going to make the decision on what to do with the application," the transcripts said.
Crawford, who was deposed last Wednesday, is reported to have told attorneys that he made the Plan B decision himself.
Crawford resigned from his position as commissioner of the FDA in September 2005 after only two months on the job.
In an internal memo to all staff Crawford wrote, "After three and a half years as Deputy Commissioner, Acting Commissioner and, finally, as Commissioner, it is time at the age of 67, to step aside." He gave no other reason for the resignation.
Crawford is also under investigation amid accusations of financial improprieties.
Disclosure forms obtained by the Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act stated that Crawford sold more than $50,000 in shares in a company regulated by the agency a month before he resigned last September.
The grand jury's examination of Crawford emerged in a telephone hearing before a magistrate judge on April 27.