publication date: Dec. 6, 2019

Senate committee votes 18-5 in support of Hahn, but questions his commitment to aggressive e-cigarette policy

By Alex Carolan

A Senate committee Dec. 3 cleared the path for Stephen M. Hahn to become the next FDA commissioner, though some Democratic and Republican senators voiced concerns that he wouldn’t take aggressive action to ban flavored e-cigarettes in this role.

Members of the Senate Committee on Health Education Labor and Pensions voted 18-5 Tuesday to confirm Hahn. Sen Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said he hopes the Senate votes on Hahn’s confirmation by the end of the year, though no vote is scheduled.

Hahn is chief medical executive at MD Anderson Cancer Center and professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology.

“Dr. Hahn is well-prepared to lead the FDA at this critical time,” Alexander said in his opening statement. “He’s a practicing oncologist who knows firsthand the importance of bringing new lifesaving drugs and devices quickly through the regulatory process.”

Five Senate members—Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Tina Smith (D-MN)—voted against his confirmation.

In an earlier confirmation hearing, some senators criticized Hahn for what they perceived to be a failure to commit to supporting regulation of flavored e-cigarettes.

At the Nov. 20 committee hearing, Democratic and Republican Senate members pressed Hahn on e-cigarette policy and his commitment to avoiding pressure from lobbying groups and the administration as commissioner (The Cancer Letter, Nov. 22). The hearing occurred days after Trump rolled back his support for banning flavored e-cigarettes, which, data show, lead to increased use in teens.

“I will use science and data to guide the … Continue reading Senate committee votes 18-5 in support of Hahn, but questions his commitment to aggressive e-cigarette policy

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