Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Crawford nomination approved by Senate

In a 78 - 16 vote the nomination of controversial acting commissioner of the FDA, Lester Crawford, cleared the Senate yesterday. 13 Democrats voted against the nominee, as did 3 Republicans including Finance Committee chair Charles Grassley who said Crawford
“has not stepped up to the plate” to address systemic problems at FDA.
Democrat Ted Kennedy, who voted in favor of Crawford stated that he believed that Crawford was step in the right direction as he's improved phamacovigilance efforts within the agency and increased scrutiny of drug advertising
"under Dr. Crawford's leadership at FDA, we have seen stepped up efforts to monitor drug safety and to inform patients and doctors about the risks of drugs. We have recently seen increased scrutiny of drug advertising. . . . Clearly more must be done, and with a commissioner in place, we can work more effectively on the key issues facing the agency, from how FDA monitors drug safety, to ways to address flu vaccine shortages, to how it handles conflicts of interest on its advisory committees, and how it has acted on Plan B."
A key signal as to whether Crawford will ensure agency decisions are based on science instead of politics will be seen by September when a final agency response to Barr's filing of Plan B as an OTC medication. Barr's submission for Plan B has received overwhelming support from both the FDA's scientific staff and the scientific advisory panel, but conservative Christian groups oppose the plan because, despite evidence to the contrary, they insist women will be endangered by engaging in S-E-X if they have access to adequate methods of contraception (including back-up measures for contraceptive failure) and/or disease prevention as they believe unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and cervical cancer are necessary and appropriate punishment for slutty behavior in women.

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