Senate Confirms Von Eschenbach

Capitol Hill (AP) -- The Senate has confirmed Andrew von Eschenbach as head of the Food and Drug Administration.

The vote of 89-to-11 came after the Senate broke a filibuster during which von Eschenbach was accused of impeding Congressional investigations.

He has been acting commissioner since September of last year. Democrats had blocked his nomination until the FDA decided to allow non-prescription sales of the morning-after pill now on the market.

After that it was held up by a Republican. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley expressed outrage at von Eschenbach's refusal to release information about a controversial antibiotic.

Grassley charged he was showing "a complete and utter disrespect for Congressional authority and the law."

Von Eschenbach said releasing the information could have a "chilling effect" on the FDA's ability to evaluate drug safety and other issues "independently and objectively."

Copyright 2006 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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