Saturday, September 16, 2006

von Eschenbach Confirmation Challenged Again

I previously posted on political delays in the confirmation of a new FDA commissioner. Democrats vowed to hold the confirmation until Plan B emergency contraception was approved for sale over-the-counter, and conservatives wanted the nomination pulled because von Eschenbach was expected to approve OTC access. Now, according to the New York Times, Republican Senator James DeMint (SC) is vowing to block the nomination unless RU-486 is taken off the market. According to DeMint's press secretary: "Senator DeMint believes that a qualified F.D.A. nominee would publicly discourage RU-486’s use and take immediate steps to remove it from the market." The Times article doesn't fully elaborate on the rationale, but DeMint's position statement, "Valuing Life," states his belief that, "The right to life is not something that begins or ends at our time of choosing. Rather, this unalienable right begins at conception and ends at natural death."

DeMint also introduced a bill (S. 511) on March 3rd to have the FDA suspend approval of the drug. The bill has been referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. It is referred to as "Holly's Law," after a woman who died after taking the drug. Objection to the drug has been framed by Republicans in terms of safety, despite evidence that giving birth is more potentially deadly to women than this drug and that the deaths may have been related to an unapproved method of administration (see previous related post, and DeMint's comments at the bill's introduction).

It's not as though the FDA has things besides political maneuvering to worry about, like, say, killer spinach.

(Found via the Kaiser Network)

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MeSH Tags: Abortion, Induced; Mifepristone; United States Food and Drug Administration

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