French Emergency Contraception Drug Ella to be Reviewed by FDA

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French drug company, HRA Pharma, announced in April that the emergency contraceptive, Ella (ulipristal acetate) will be reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Advisory Committee for Reproductive Health Drugs at its June 17th meeting.

Ella is a selective progesterone receptor modulator developed by HRA specifically as an emergency contraceptive. Ella will prevent pregnancy five days after having unprotected intercourse or in case of failure of contraceptive.

Currently in the United States, the emergency contraceptive available is Plan B pill, which is beneficial only up to 72 hours after sex. It is available for sale without a prescription for women older than 17.

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If the FDA approves Ella, the United States will join 22 countries where the drug is already available. The drug Ella is seen as a much needed additional form of emergency contraception by many U.S. advocates for family planning and reproductive rights.

As with Plan B, Ella is receiving opposition from pro-life groups who view it as a form of abortion rather than contraception. These groups argue the drug Ella has a chemical similarity to RU-486 which makes it more like the controversial abortion pill, which can terminate a pregnancy at up to nine weeks.

The FDA Advisory Committee will meet this Thursday, June 17th.

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Sources
HRA Pharma
Food and Drug Administration
Washington Post

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