Bush To Nominate Permanent FDA Commissioner
President Bush in the next several weeks likely will nominate acting FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach as permanent commissioner of the agency, according to individuals close to the situation, the Wall Street Journal reports (Wilde Mathews/Corbett Dooren, Wall Street Journal, 3/10).
Bush named von Eschenbach, director of the National Cancer Institute, acting FDA commissioner after former agency Commissioner Lester Crawford resigned in September 2005. Later that month, von Eschenbach said that he would take a temporary leave of absence as director of NCI to address conflict-of-interest concerns (California Healthline, 10/5/05).
The nomination of von Eschenbach "could still stall over questions" about whether he will have to resign as director of NCI, and he likely would "face a tough confirmation process" in the Senate, the Journal reports. Von Eschenbach likely would face difficult questions over issues related to the emergency contraceptive Plan B, stem cell research, condom labels, mifepristone and generic biotechnology medications.
According to the Journal, von Eschenbach likely would "win support from industry but ... face opposition from lawmakers focused on drug safety," such as Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) (Wall Street Journal, 3/10).