November 30,2006

Grassley makes available responses from FDA nominee

WASHINGTON — Sen. Chuck Grassley today released the written answers he received from Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach in response to questions submitted during Senate committee consideration of von Eschenbach’s nomination to be Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.

“The actions and words of this nominee display a misunderstanding of congressional oversight of the executive branch of government. The nominee is not well-served by advisers who say that executive agency policy somehow trumps the Constitution. The ‘longstanding policy’ cited in response to questions is so full of holes it won’t hold water,” Grassley said.

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions voted in favor of the von Eschenbach nomination following its August 1 hearing. On November 16, Grassley expressed his objection to full Senate consideration of the nomination. Grassley said he placed his Senate hold due to resistance from the FDA and the Department of Health and Human Services to congressional oversight of FDA’s approval and post-market surveillance of the antibiotic Ketek.

Earlier this week, Grassley continued his correspondence with the Secretary of Health and Human Services about stonewalling by the executive branch. That letter is also being made available today, along with previous correspondence.

Grassley has conducted extensive congressional oversight of the drug-safety agency for the last three years.

Copies of the following documents are posted in pdf format along with this news release at

1.    Written answers from von Eschenbach to confirmation hearing questions from Grassley

2.    Letter from Grassley to the Senate Majority Leader placing a hold on the von Eschenbach

3.    Letters from Grassley to the Secretary of Health and Human Services regarding agency
responses to congressional inquiries.