Frustrated Grassley to visit HHS

Frustrated with the Bush administration, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is expected to seek answers directly from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Grassley will meet with a special agent from the Food and Drug Administration to discuss the effects of clinical trials of the antibiotic Ketek and the agency's approval and post-market surveillance of the drug.

Since April, Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has petitioned HHS for information on fraud questions surrounding the trials, which involve children and infants, but he says he's fed up waiting.

"It's been one illegitimate excuse after another," Grassley said in a release yesterday. "The allegations of misconduct with this drug are as bad as any I've heard. I'm committed to getting to the bottom of the matter and fulfilling my constitutional responsibility to oversee the executive branch of government."

Ketek is pharmaceutical company Sanofi Aventis's brand name for telithromycin.

HHS spokeswoman Christina Pearson said, "This department has been working extensively with Senator Grassley's staff to make documents and information available in a timely way, and we will continue to do so."