FDA NOMINATION HEARING DRIVES THE WEEK IN HEALTH POLICY
President Trump’s nominee to lead the Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Stephen Hahn, will appear Wednesday before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee for a hearing on his nomination.
Hahn, an oncologist and chief medical executive at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, is seen by lawmakers as a blank slate – he has a strong resume as a physician but scant policy experience. However, HELP Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., announced he supports Hahn after meeting with the nominee Nov. 6. Meanwhile, Democrats are eager to replace current acting FDA Commissioner Brett Giroir because of concerns over his positions on social issues like abortion.
Still, Hahn is sure to face wide-ranging questions from lawmakers about the mission of the agency he hopes to lead. Senators are also likely to seek commitments from him to focus on certain policy issues.
Given Hahn’s lack of policy track record, senators will want details of his views on regulation of food, drugs and medical devices. Hahn can expect lawmakers to press him on ways the FDA can help to lower prescription drug costs while protecting medical innovation, including Trump’s efforts to allow drug importation. E-cigarettes will be a hot topic, as will cannabis regulation and efforts to stem opioid abuse.