Senate Dem to block Obama's FDA nominee

Senate Dem to block Obama's FDA nominee
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Sen. Edward MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyOvernight Defense: Families sue over safety hazards at Army base | Lawmakers, NBA's Enes Kanter speak out ahead of Erdoğan visit | Washington braces for public impeachment hearings NBA's Enes Kanter speaks out against Erdoğan ahead of White House visit Democrats unifying against Joe Kennedy Senate bid MORE (D-Mass.) says he's blocking the nomination of Dr. Robert Califf to be commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration until the agency makes reforms to its approval process for opioid painkillers.

Markey said Monday he put a hold on Califf, whose nomination cleared the Senate Health Committee earlier this month and was headed to the floor for a vote.

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Markey is upset with the FDA’s decision last year to approve the use of OxyContin to treat children as young as 11 years old. He called on the agency to commit to holding advisory committees before approving such painkillers in the future.

“While people in every community across the country are dying every day from opioid overdoses, the FDA continues to operate as if safety just means the right dose when it should include all the dangers of these painkillers,” he said in a statement.

“Expert after expert has warned about the real world dangers of abuse of and dependence on these new supercharged opioid painkillers, but the FDA has willfully blinded itself to the warning signs.

In October, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie Sanders2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes 2020 Dems put focus on stemming veteran suicides The Memo: Democrats confront prospect of long primary MORE (I-Vt.), a Democratic presidential candidate, announced he would oppose Califf's nomination over concerns that the cardiologist and longtime Duke University researcher has close ties to the drug industry.