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Trump’s new FDA nominee advances in the Senate

Published on 04/12/19 at 12:34pm

Dr Stephen Hahn, President Donald Trump’s FDA nominee, has advanced his nomination to the full Senate chamber.

The vote was decided 18-5 by the Senate’s Health, Education, Labour and Pensions (HELP) committee, and this likely means that Hahn will be confirmed by the entire Senate. 

Hahn is a cancer doctor who serves as the Chief Medicinal Executive at the renowned MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas. Currently, Dr Ned Sharpless, the former director of the National Cancer Institute, serves as the agency’s acting chief. He took over the interim role after the previous FDA director, Dr Scott Gottlieb, unexpectedly exited back in March.

Despite him getting through comfortably, he still faced criticism from the Senators present, including Utah Senator, and former Presidential Republican nominee, Mitt Romney.

In November, Romney had brought attention to the Trump administration’s retrenchment of stringent, anti-vaping rules for flavoured e-cigarette products that could potentially target children.

He said: “While I hope the Administration will act without further delay on its prior proposal to ban flavours that appeal to kids, I will also continue to push for my legislation that bans flavours, ensures that vaping cartridges are tamper-proof, and bans e-cigarettes from schools.”

Romney did vote to confirm Hahn. Senator Patty Murray, a Washington Democrat, did not vote for Hahn as he believed he would not back aggressive vaping and e-cigarette regulation.

Hanh did agree that the use of flavoured e-cigarettes was an “urgent crisis” in the country and “aggressive action” needed to be taken to stop teenagers from becoming addicted to nicotine and tobacco.

Conor Kavanagh

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