FDA nominee feels political heat

Democratic senators sought yesterday to paint the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an agency in crisis at a Senate hearing to consider President Bush’s nominee to oversee the embattled agency.

During a confirmation hearing on Andrew von Eschenbach held by the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee yesterday, Democrats complained about the FDA’s numerous delays on ruling whether the emergency-contraceptive drug Plan B should be available without a prescription.

The panel’s Democrats joined their Republican colleagues in praising the qualifications of von Eschenbach, a urological surgeon whose r