Corporate Compliance

Lester Crawford approved to head FDA

Compliance Monitor, July 20, 2005

Lester Crawford approved to head FDA

The U.S. Senate has confirmed Lester Crawford to oversee the Food and Drug Administration.

The vote, which occurred Monday, was overwhelmingly in his favor, with 78 Senators for and 16 Senators against his nomination. Crawford had been acting director of the FDA since March of 2004.

President George W. Bush nominated Crawford as the permanent head of the agency in February. However, speculation over controversies that occurred at the agency during Crawford's tenure as acting director held up the nomination, according to The Boston Globe.

Some of this criticism surfaced Monday, before Crawford was approved. U.S. Senator Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, criticized Crawford for not listening to internal critics and for recent drug-safety scares-including withdrawal of the painkiller Vioxx, reported The Boston Globe.

Senators Patty Murray, (D-Wash) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) placed a hold on Crawford's nomination because the FDA has yet to approve the so-called "morning-after pill" as a nonprescription drug, according to The Washington Post. The senators said the FDA held up approval because of the controversial nature of the drug. The Senators withdrew the hold after receiving assurances a decision would be made on the morning-after pill by Sept. 1, reported the Post.

Despite his critics, Crawford carried the day on Monday. He was approved by a role call vote.

"While I respected the right of my colleagues to disagree with a president's choice, in the end, I believe we have made the right decision to promote Dr. Crawford," said Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), according to The Washington Post. "He has a long and distinguished history of leadership and public service, and I look forward to his continued work in promoting and protecting the public health."

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