Health Care — FDA says ‘morning after’ pills not abortion medication

Happy holidays to all who celebrate this season! While you may be dealing with the bitter cold brought by a “bomb storm” rolling across the country, kids can rest assured that Santa will still arrive on time, at least according to this military agency that tracks his movements.

Today in health, the FDA has reviewed the labeling and information on contraceptive products for Plan B, the agency brings attention to how the morning-after pill works and specifies that it does not cause abortions.

Welcome to Overnight Health Care, where we follow the latest policy measures and news that affect your health. On The Hill, we’re Nathaniel Weixel and Joseph Choi. Register here.

Editing note: We will take a break next week. We wish you a Happy New Year and we will be back in Jan. 3!

The FDA is revising the labeling of Plan B, saying it is not an abortion pill

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Friday that it has approved a request by the makers of Plan B to update how information on the drug is presented.

  • Along with a few changes, the agency clarified that Plan B does not cause abortions.
  • “Plan B One-Step prevents pregnancy by triggering ovulation, which occurs well before implantation. “Evidence does not support that the drug has an effect on implantation or maintenance of pregnancy after implantation, so it does not terminate pregnancy,” the FDA said.

Levonorgestrel, better known under the brand name Plan B One-step or colloquially as the “morning after” pill, is a prescription drug used to prevent the possibility of pregnancy following unprotected sex or when contraceptive methods fail or have not been used. .

How does this work: Plan B prevents pregnancy by temporarily delaying the release of the egg from the uterus, thus preventing the egg from being fertilized by the sperm. The drug works best if taken within three days of unprotected sex, the manufacturer advises that it works best if taken sooner.

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The pill does not work once a person is pregnant, and will not terminate a pregnancy, the new packaging says.

Read more here.

Research finds lack of inclusion in OB-GYN research

Overall racial and ethnic representation in OB-GYN research is very low, according to the authors of a new analysis of 1,300 clinical trials and more than 1,100 clinical research publications.

Both clinical trials and the scientific literature inform how medical professionals provide clinical care, but similar, unrepresentative research can have a negative impact on OB-GYN care, the authors wrote in the report.

“We know that racial and ethnic reporting and representation in research are critical components of health equity, public health and social justice,” said lead study author Jecca Steinberg in a release. Steinberg is a medical resident in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

  • Among all the sub-areas analyzed, obstetrics and family planning exercises were the most diverse and could serve as a model in this field, the authors suggest.
  • However, gynecology subjects were significantly less likely to report racial and ethnic data than obstetrics subjects.

Of the included clinical trials, 51 percent reported race and ethnicity data, and three-quarters of publications did the same. Tests performed between 2007 and 2020 were included in the study, as well as publications from 2007 to 2021.

Although African American or Alaskan Native, Asian, Black, and Latina groups were underrepresented in trials and publications, the underrepresentation varied by specialty, sponsor, and race and ethnicity.

Read more here.


The emergency department at New York University (NYU) is accused of providing special care to a variety of VIPs, including Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (DN.Y.), according to a New York Times report.

The Times spoke with 45 medical staff and reviewed internal hospital records and other confidential documents to report that NYU’s emergency room has provided critical care to donors, trustees, politicians, celebrities, friends and family for years.

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According to the report, Room 20 is reserved for life-threatening patients and VIPs:

  • Schumer’s wife had a fever and shortness of breath in the spring of this year and both went to NYU’s emergency room.
  • Critically ill patients received care in the hallway, but Schumer and his wife were admitted to Room 20 where they immediately received tests for COVID-19, which came back negative, according to the Times.
  • Kenneth Langone, a major donor to NYU’s hospital system and one of the institution’s most prominent figures, suffered abdominal pain in September 2021. Medical staff told the Times that Room 20 was left empty because of him, and he was rushed into the room and treated. bacterial infection upon arrival.

NYU Langone denied to the Times that VIPs receive proper treatment first, but 33 employees told the outlet that they saw those types of patients receive that treatment in Room 20, one of the largest private areas in the emergency department.

Read more here.


Thaget recalled more than 200,000 children’s blankets on Thursday after two girls were reportedly trapped in one and died of suffocation in the spring.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the big box chain have announced a recall of 204,000 Pillowfort blankets, citing a safety risk if a child unzips and gets into the blanket.

  • In April, a 4-year-old girl and a 6-year-old girl became trapped inside a weighted blanket and died of asphyxiation at Camp Lejeune, NC, the agency said.
  • Target has received four reports of children getting stuck in the product, including that incident.

Both the CPSC and Target are urging consumers to stop using the weighted bedding and return the products immediately. Pillowfort Weighted Blankets weigh 6 pounds and are 60 inches long and 40 inches wide.

Read more here.

How do you mentally prepare for holiday gatherings?

Over the past few years, more family conflict and scrutiny has come with a side of pandemic fear — and this holiday season, with COVID-19, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and the flu all around, is no different.

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Psychiatrist Ravi Shah offered some advice on how to prepare yourself mentally for social gatherings with family in an interview with The Hill’s Changing America team:

Plan what you will do if someone gets sick

  • Shah advises following the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and creating a plan for how and where members of your group can self-isolate if they develop symptoms or get tested, as well as a plan for isolating people who have been exposed.
  • This program may include different or modified activities where someone is unable to participate fully. If there is a way to gather outside safely and remotely, that would be a good option.

Anticipation is anger

  • “Holidays are a time to have fun and be with others,” said Shah. But those circles are rarely, if ever, perfect — and you shouldn’t expect them to be, he says.
  • “What we have to expect … when you bring families together a few times a year is that they’re going to have conflicts like any relationship,” Shah said. “The question is not really there. It’s more about how we handle ourselves.” Lowering your expectations can help give you and your family members a little breathing room.

Read more here.


  • Omicron subvariant XBB accounts for 18% of US COVID cases, CDC says (Reuters)
  • The US has hit more than 100M cases of COVID-19. Experts say this is unlikely (ABC News)
  • Influenza activity in US continues to decrease after early surgery (Stat)


  • Colorado looks to change its red flag law after mass shooting at nightclub (Kaiser Health News)
  • UCSF apologizes for experiments conducted on prisoners in the ’60s and ’70s (Los Angeles Times)
  • Watch your shoots! Nebraska health department issues salmonella warning (WOWT)

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Health Care page for the latest news and coverage.


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