Effects of Delayed Vote on Crawford Nomination as FDA Commissioner Examined
The Hill on Thursday examined how objections to the nomination of acting FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford as agency commissioner are "contributing to a growing atmosphere of uncertainty about the agency and the drug industry it regulates." Crawford became acting FDA commissioner in March 2004, and the agency has received criticism related to a number of prescription drug safety issues during his tenure. In addition, Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) have promised to place a hold on the Crawford nomination unless FDA issues a final decision on an application for nonprescription sales of the emergency contraceptive Plan B, and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has said that he might place a hold on the nomination.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee last month postponed a vote on the Crawford nomination to investigate anonymous allegations of improper personal conduct. Committee Chair Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) -- who supports the Crawford nomination -- has not indicated when the committee will hold the vote. According to the Hill, "few of the roadblocks to Crawford's nomination would recede if he were to step aside." Meanwhile, the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device industries "remain in a holding pattern, waiting for stable leadership at the FDA," the Hill reports.
A Pharmaceutical and Research Manufacturers of America spokesperson maintains that the group "has not seen evidence that the holdup" of the Crawford nomination has affected the FDA prescription drug approval process, but the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the Advanced Medical Technology Association and some analysts have said that the delay has affected investment in those industries (Young, The Hill, 5/19).