What We're Reading: FDA Changes Label for Abortion Pill, Potentially Increasing Access

What we're reading, March 31, 2016: the FDA changed guidelines for the use of the abortion pill, which could expand access; meanwhile Donald Trump isolated himself by saying women seeking abortion should face punishment; and drug makers are paying less fines for bad behavior.

A new change to the guidelines for the use of the abortion pill could increase access to a heavily restricted method of terminating a pregnancy. The FDA has approved a new label that lowers the recommended dosage to a drug used in medical abortion, and increases the time it can be used up to 3 weeks longer than before, reported The Washington Post. The new label still carries the old label’s warnings, which include the possibility of infection or death.

On the topic of abortion, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump sparked outrage among both pro-life and pro-choice groups for a saying that women who seek abortion should face punishment. The New York Times reported that Trump later recanted, but the damage may have been done. Both Trump’s Republican rivals and pro-life advocates disavowed an effort to punish women choosing abortion.

Over the last 2 years there has been a noticeable drop in the amount of huge fines drug makers paid for bad behavior. A report found that in 2014 and 2015, pharmaceutical companies paid $2.8 billion to settle charges for various fraudulent practices, down considerably from $9.9 billion in 2012 and 2013, according to STAT. The worst offenders were Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Novartis, and GlaxoSmithKline. While the report has no explanation for the decline in penalties, there is speculation that the Department of Justice is pursuing different sorts of violations now.