Crawford Nomination as FDA Commissioner Could Face Opposition on Senate Floor
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Wednesday likely will approve the nomination of Lester Crawford, acting commissioner of FDA, as permanent commissioner, but he "faces opposition on the Senate floor," CQ Today reports (Schuler, CQ Today, 4/8).
Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) last week said that they plan to block a full Senate vote on Crawford's nomination because FDA has delayed a decision about whether to approve an application from Barr Laboratories to allow the sale of the emergency contraceptive Plan B without a prescription from a physician. FDA in January had planned to issue a decision on the application, which would allow the sale of EC without a prescription to women ages 17 and older. On March 17, Crawford in a confirmation hearing told the Senate HELP Committee that FDA would approve the application "within weeks" (California Healthline, 4/7).
Under the leadership of Crawford, FDA also has faced criticism for "a series of highly publicized findings" about the risks of some COX-2 inhibitors, two of which -- Bextra, manufactured by Pfizer, and Vioxx, manufactured by Merck -- recently were withdrawn from the U.S. market, CQ Today reports. In addition, some critics have raised concerns about the ability of FDA to monitor the safety of prescription drugs after they reach the market (CQ Today, 4/8).