05.07.09

Enzi Questions Nominee on Flu, Tobacco, Other Critical Issues

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), today said Dr. Margaret Hamburg, nominee for Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), if confirmed, will face unprecedented challenges to public health, from bio-defense and preparedness to possibly regulating tobacco, and added that Congress, FDA, and the Administration will need to work cooperatively to meet those challenges.

“With the current pandemic flu threat looming, many Americans are concerned about the supply of flu vaccines and treatments. What will you do as commissioner to help ensure that our country is prepared for this and other public health emergencies?” Enzi, Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, asked at today’s HELP Committee confirmation hearing for Dr. Hamburg.

Enzi expressed concern about a bill to require FDA to regulate tobacco, which the HELP Committee plans to mark up next week.

“FDA approves cures, not poisons. Pending legislation would require FDA to regulate tobacco, a product with no health benefits, but with deadly risks. Wouldn’t it send a poor public health message to have an implied FDA seal of approval on a deadly product?

“FDA resources are already stretched too thin – I have serious concerns about adding tobacco to the list of products the agency must regulate.

“I want to thank Dr. Hamburg for her previous public service and her willingness to serve again,” Enzi said. “I look forward to working with her, if she is confirmed, to protect and promote the public health, and to restore FDA’s status as the gold standard for regulatory agencies.”

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