Dr. David Hager nominated for FDA panel-Truth!
Dr. David Hager Selected for the FDA's Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee-Truth!
Summary of eRumor:The eRumor is a protest of the choice of Dr. David Hager to lead the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee. It says he is a religious pro-life physician who refuses to prescribe contraceptives to unmarried women and opposes the use of RU-486, the pill that ends a pregnancy.
The Truth:Dr. David Hager is a part of the teaching staff of the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and has developed a reputation as an expert on gynecologic infections.
This eRumor was circulated before Dr. Hager actually became a member of the committee.
He is now a part of the panel, although he did not become the chairman of it.
He is a conservatively oriented physician and is a speaker and author in the Christian community who describes himself as pro-life.
He objected to this eRumor saying that he does not know who wrote it and that no one had interviewed him for it and that some of it is not accurate.
He says that he does not refuse to prescribe birth control for unmarried patients.
He is an advocate of abstinence but for patients who do not make that choice, he is not opposed to birth control prescription.
He also says that his opposition to RU-486 was based on his concerns about the safety of the drug.
He says RU-486 was approved under an "Accelerated Approval Process" reserved exclusively for anti-AIDS and anti-cancer drugs and an antihypertensive agent. He says that normally the FDA requires one or more than one randomized, controlled trials before approving a drug, which was not done for RU-486.
He also says that he does not believe that standard birth control pills are abortifacient and has never written it.
He says he co-edited a book that referenced various views about birth control pills but that not all of those views were his own.
Regarding his views of how to deal with stress-related disorders in women, he says "I have always offered a holistic approach to therapy. I suggest diet/exercise changes, medications as needed, counseling when required, and meditation/prayer."
Last updated 11/30/03
A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:
Subject: FDA nomination
This is frightening and I wanted to share some important information
with you that has come to me:
President Bush has announced his plan to select Dr. W. David Hager to
head up the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Reproductive Health
Drugs Advisory Committee. The committee has not met for more than two
years, during which time its charter lapsed. As a result, the Bush
Administration is tasked with filling all eleven positions with new
members. This position does not require Congressional approval.
The FDA’s Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committ ee makes crucial
decisions on matters relating to drugs used in the practice of
obstetrics, gynecology and related specialties, including hormone
therapy, contraception, treatment for infertility, and medical
alternatives to surgical procedures for sterilization and pregnancy
Dr. Hager’s views of reproductive health care are far outside the
mainstream for reproductive technology. Dr. Hager is a practicing
OB/GYN who describes himself as “pro-life” and refuses to prescribe
contraceptives to unmarried women. Hager is the author of “As Jesus
Cared for Women: Restoring omen Then and Now.” The book blends
biblical accounts of Christ healing women with case studies from
I n the book Dr. Hager wrote with his wife, entitled “Stress and the
Woman’s Body,” he suggests that women who suffer from premenstrual
syndrome should seek help from reading the bible and praying. As an
editor and contributing author of “The Reproduction Revolution: A
Christian Appraisal of Sexuality Reproductive Technologies and the
Family,” Dr. Hager appears to have endorsed the medically inaccurate
assertion that the common birth control pill is an abortifacient.
Hager’s mission is religiously motivated. He has an ardent interest in
revoking approval for mifepristone (formerly known as RU-486) as a safe
and early form of medical abortion. Hagar recently assisted the
Christian Medical Association in a “citizen’s petition” which calls
&nb sp;the FDA to revoke its approval of mifepristone in the name of women’s
Hager’s desire to overturn mifepristone’s approval on religious grounds
rather than scientific merit would halt the development of mifepristone
as a treatment for numerous medical conditions disproportionately
affecting women, including breast cancer, uterine cancer, uterine
fibroid tumors, psychotic depression, bipolar depression and Cushing’s
Women rely on the FDA to ensure their access to safe and effective
drugs for reproductive health care including products that prevent
pregnancy. For some women, such as those with certain types of diabetes
and those undergoing treatment for cancer, pregnancy can be a
life-threatening condition. We are concerned that Dr. Hager’s strong
religious beliefs may color his assessment of technologies that are
necessary to protect women’s lives or to preserve and promote women’s
Hager’s track record of using religious beliefs to guide his medical
decision-making makes him a dangerous and inappropriate candidate to
serve as chair of this committee. Critical drug public policy and
research must not be held hostage by antiabortion politics. Members of
this important panel should be appointed on the basis of science and
medicine, rather than politics and religion. American women deserve no
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
1. SEND THIS TO EVERY PERSON YOU KNOW WHO IS CONCERNED ABOUT WOMEN’S
2. OPPOSE THE PLACEMENT OF THIS MAN BY CONTACTING THE WHITE HOUSE AND
TELL THEM HE IS TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE ON ANY LEVEL.
Please email President Bush at [email protected] and say “I
oppose the appointment of Dr. W. David Hager to the FDA Reproductive
Health Drugs Advisory Committee. Mixing religion and medicine is
unacceptable in a policy-making position. Using the FDA to promote a
political agenda is inappropriate and seriously threatens women’s
Dr. Ilona N. Rashkow
Associate Professor of Judaic Studies, Women’s Studies, Comparative
Director of Graduate Studies
Department of Comparative Literatu re
SUNY at Stony Brook
Stony Brook, New York 11794-3355