Bush, Congress Should Not Delay Appointment of FDA, NIH Heads, Los Angeles Times Says
The FDA and the NIH have not had leaders for more than a year, and additional delay "would be a big mistake," a Los Angeles Times editorial says. According to the editorial, "strong candidates" for both positions "are waiting in the wings." Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a division of NIH, represents the "best candidate" to head the NIH, according to the editorial. The editorial praises Fauci as a "deft politician" and the "nation's leading AIDS researcher." According to the editorial, the Bush administration has offered Fauci the position, but he has "held out for assurance that he would have 'protected time' each week to escape politics and do his own research." The editorial urges President Bush to "give him that comfort and urge him to serve the nation." The editorial adds that Bush will likely nominate Alastair Wood this week to head the FDA. Wood, a medicine professor and assistant vice chancellor at Vanderbilt University, "generally won respect" as a medical peer reviewer during his time as editor of the drug review department of the New England Journal of Medicine, according to the editorial. The editorial points out that Wood also "gained broad respect" when he "forthrightly denounced the way the FDA had mishandled the potentially fatal" diabetes drug Rezulin as a member of an agency advisory committee and urges the Senate to "fast-track confirmation hearings for Wood." The editorial concludes, "The FDA and NIH may seem like obscure, easily ignored federal agencies, but their social importance is growing and they need strong leadership to be strong watchdogs of the national health" (Los Angeles Times, 1/7).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.