FDA nomination faces obstacles

Sept. 15, 2006 at 1:48 AM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- Two Capitol Hill Republicans are threatening to block U.S. President George W. Bush's nominee to head the Food and Drug Administration.

Sen. David Vitter, R-La., told The New York Times he would block the nomination of Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach to become FDA commissioner unless the administration legalizes imports of some prescription drugs.

"It could be from Canada only, or for personal use only, or a pilot or limited program," Vitter said. "But it has to be meaningful."

A spokesman for Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., said DeMint would block the nomination unless the FDA takes action to withdraw the abortion drug RU-486 from the market.

"Sen. DeMint believes that a qualified FDA nominee would publicly discourage RU-486's use and take immediate steps to remove it from the market," said DeMint's press secretary, Wesley M. Denton.

The FDA is not likely to meet either senator's demand in the coming weeks, the Times reported, and Vitter predicted the Senate would not act this year on elevating Eschenbach from acting commissioner.

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