Senate Approves FDA Commissioner
The Senate on Thursday voted 80-11 to approve President Bush's nomination of acting FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach to permanently head the agency, the Washington Post reports (Lee, Washington Post, 12/8).
Sens. David Vitter (R-La.) and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) had placed holds on the nomination, but the Senate earlier on Thursday voted 89-6 to invoke a cloture to allow a vote on the nomination despite the holds (Wayne, CQ Today, 12/8).
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) earlier this year also pledged to place a hold on von Eschenbach's nomination unless FDA took "immediate steps" to remove Danco Laboratories' medical abortion drug Mifeprex from the market. FDA in 2000 approved the sale of Mifeprex -- known generically as mifepristone -- to be used with misoprostol to induce a medical abortion (California Healthline, 9/21).
DeMint voted in favor of the cloture but against von Eschenbach's approval (CQ Today, 12/8).
Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) in August also dropped holds they placed on von Eschenbach's nomination after FDA approved Barr Laboratories' application to allow nonprescription sales of its emergency contraceptive Plan B to women ages 18 and older (American Health Line, 9/21).