The Senate acted last night to approve Dr. Lester Crawford's nomination as commissioner of the FDA. The vote, 78-16 in favor of the nomination, caps a months-long delay caused by a dispute over approval of the emergency contraceptive Plan B and an investigation into allegations that Crawford had an affair with a colleague.
"Dr. Crawford is a dedicated public servant who has ably led the agency over the last year and previously served as deputy commissioner," said Secretary of Health and Human Service Mike Leavitt. "I look forward to working with Dr. Crawford and FDA as we seek to continue advancing the nation's health."
Leavitt said last week that FDA would make a decision on switching Barr Laboratories' emergency contraceptive Plan B to OTC status by Sept. 1st.
Democratic Sens. Patty Murray of Washington and Hillary Clinton of New York then announced that they would lift a "hold" they had placed on Crawford's nomination, which had effectively prevented a vote.
The senators, however, said they continue to have "concerns about the lack of leadership and independent decision-making that Dr. Crawford and the FDA have shown in this case."
The nomination also was delayed several weeks by accusations that Crawford was carrying on an affair with someone in his office, but an investigation turned up no evidence.