HHS Secretary Criticizes Opposition to Confirmation of FDA Commissioner Mark McClellan as CMS Administrator
HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson on Tuesday "blasted back" at senators who threatened to delay the confirmation of FDA Commissioner Mark McClellan as CMS administrator, CongressDaily reports. At least three senators -- John McCain (R-Ariz.), Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) -- have announced plans to delay a final confirmation vote on McClellan because of his opposition to prescription drug reimportation (Rovner, CongressDaily, 3/3). McClellan has said that he opposes the practice because FDA cannot certify the safety of prescription drugs reimported from Canada and other nations. Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and ranking member Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) have agreed to approve the nomination of McClellan. The agreement will allow the full Senate to vote on the nomination before a one-week recess scheduled to begin at the end of next week. Under the agreement, the committee on Monday will hold a hearing on the nomination and will vote by Tuesday (California Healthline, 3/2). Thompson said that senators who plan to delay a final confirmation vote on McClellan "can get what they want without convincing either Thompson or McClellan to do anything" on reimportation, CongressDaily reports. According to Thompson, lawmakers could pass legislation that would allow the practice without certification by the HHS secretary, a requirement included in past reimportation bills approved by Congress (CongressDaily, 3/3).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.