Von Eschenbach Confirmed as FDA Commissioner

(December 7, 2006) — In one of the last actions before the U.S. Senate in the 109th Congress, Andrew von Eschenbach, MD, was confirmed today as Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. He has served as the Acting Commissioner since the September 2005 resignation of the last commissioner, Lester Crawford, DVM. Von Eschenbach was previously the Director of the National Cancer Institute.

"AHPA looks forward to working with Dr. von Eschenbach and his staff at FDA," stated Michael McGuffin, AHPA's president. "Numerous dietary supplement issues are in need of FDA's attention and we expect to develop a fruitful relationship with FDA under its new leadership."

Von Eschenbach's confirmation had been delayed by holds placed on his nomination by Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA) and David Vitter (R-LA). Senator Grassley's hold was in response to the refusal by FDA to turn over evidence related to safety concerns about a prescription antibiotic to the Senate Finance Committee, which he chairs. Senator Vitter's hold was made to express his opposition to current laws that prohibit patients from buying prescription drugs from other countries. These holds were set aside by a procedural vote earlier in the day. Vitter, Grassley and nine other senators voted against the new commissioner's confirmation.

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The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) is a trade association representing the core of the botanical trade — comprised of the finest growers, processors, manufacturers and marketers of herbal products. AHPA’s mission is to promote the responsible commerce of herbal products. AHPA committees generate self-regulations to ensure the highest level of quality with respect to the way herbs are manufactured, labeled, and sold. Website: www.ahpa.org.

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