Senate Panel Approves FDA Nominee
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Wednesday by voice vote approved President Bush's nomination of acting FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach to permanently head the agency, but potential holds to a full Senate vote on the nomination remain, the New York Times reports (Harris, New York Times, 9/21).
Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) has said he would place a hold on the nomination until the Bush administration allows U.S. residents to purchase U.S.-made prescription drugs from abroad.
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) plans to place a hold on von Eschenbach's confirmation unless "immediate steps" are taken to remove the medical abortion drug Mifeprex from the market, DeMint press secretary Wesley Denton said recently.
(California Healthline, 9/15).
DeMint in a statement released on Wednesday said, "I believe a qualified FDA nominee would publicly discourage the use of [Mifeprex] and take immediate steps to suspend the drug until a full investigation can be completed. Dr. von Eschenbach has now been acting FDA commissioner for a year, yet he has done nothing to publicly discourage the use of this deadly drug" (Watts, Dow Jones, 9/20).
Senate HELP Committee Chair Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.) said he and Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), the ranking member on the panel, would be working "virtually full time" until the Senate convenes next week to persuade senators to approve the nomination (New York Times, 9/21).
A spokesperson for DeMint said that while the senator "continues to work with the administration, the FDA and the (HELP) committee," he will maintain his hold on the nomination (Young, The Hill, 9/21).