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The Food and Drug Administration is supposed to be one of those science-based agencies somewhat removed from politics - specifically to protect the integrity of its declarations on health and safety issues.
So Hamburg, who is supposed to be concerned only with science, first says she has no idea what Dorgan is talking about. Then, suddenly, 24 hours later, she's signed onto a headline-grabbing letter saying Dorgan's bill would threaten American consumers - a letter that just happens to serve
There are several sets of fingerprints in the Senate chamber where (drug importation) legislation died, including some from the White House, says Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND). "They did not support this," and worked with Democratic Senate leaders to kill it in order to move the larger bill forward, he said in an interview. The amendment failed in the Senate Tuesday evening...
Dorgan said he can't get answers from the administration about what's going on, though he called the White House and FDA prior to the vote.
Last week, he said he heard rumors that the FDA was going to send a letter objecting to drug importation on safety grounds, which he has said is a bogus reason. He said he called FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, who said she knew nothing about such a letter.
He said his timeline shows that a letter, signed by Hamburg questioning the safety of drug imports, was sent 24 hours later to a few senators who opposed importation. That piece of paper became a rallying cry for other senators who voted down Dorgan's amendment.
"I think the letter was prompted, probably drafted somewhere else," like "the White House" Dorgan said.
The White House has not responded to repeated calls and emails. The FDA did not immediately comment.