Recently Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) has been involved in correspondence with Acting Commissioner Andrew C. von Eschenbach. He wrote on August 23, September 22 and now again on October 23. It seems to be a monthly thing.
His concern is about the "recent surge in use of phenylephrine in oral decongestants." It is being used to replace pseudoephrine which is an ingredient that requires sales behind the counter. He is seeking a meeting of the Non-prescription Drugs Advisory Committee (NDAC) to examine efficacy of the ingredient based on recent studies. Dr. von Eschenbach, according to the most recent Waxman letter, stated that he was "unwilling to convene such a meeting" because he was unaware of any data that would change the agency’s position on phenylephrine. In his letter this week, Rep. Waxman begs to differ. His point, I think, is the nose knows.
With an election just a few short weeks away and almost everyone’s crystal ball showing a potential switch of parties in the House (save for the President’s), Rep. Waxman will undoubtedly be put into a position where he will be in a much stronger position to provide oversight of the FDA. It would do well for Dr. von Eschenbach to make friends now, rather than later.