Senate votes to back FDA nominee

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The U.S. Senate voted to back President Bush's choice to lead the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday, according to United Press International. The agency has not had a permanent chief for about four-and-a-half of the last six years. Controversy over the Plan B emergency contraceptive drug and other drugs has contributed to the agency’s disorganization and lawmakers plan to submit legislation next year that would overhaul the FDA.

President Bush nominated von Eschenbach in March, six months after he became FDA's acting director. At the time, von Eschenbach, 65, was already head of the National Cancer Institute. Bush chose him to replace Lester Crawford, who resigned just three months after taking over as commissioner.

The Senate voted to approve von Eschenbach in an 80-11 vote.