Parsing Policy: GOP Disapproval Of HHS Nominee Is Laughable; Painful Truths About FDA’s Opioid Mistake
As President Joe Biden attempts to fill his cabinet, editorial pages focus on important qualities needed from leaders in those positions.
Los Angeles Times:
Republicans Who Backed DeVos Won't Support Becerra?
Sen. Richard M. Burr (R-N.C.) is a thoughtful guy, and while he’s a reliable Republican vote on the vast majority of issues that come before the Senate, he’s independent enough to have voted to convict former President Trump at Trump’s second impeachment trial (but not the first one). So it was disturbing to hear Burr make the Republicans’ least principled argument Tuesday against California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra’s nomination to lead the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: that only someone with significant work experience in the healthcare sector should serve in that post. (Jon Healey, 2/23)
The New York Times:
He Lost His Son To An Overdose. Now He’s Taking On The ‘Top Drug Cop.’
During a year in which half a million Americans have died of Covid-19, it’s easy to overlook a much longer epidemic — the worst drug crisis in American history, a crisis fueled in part by the unholy alliance between F.D.A. officials and pharmaceutical companies. Since Eddie Bisch’s Florida fishing trip, at least 500,000 Americans have died of an opioid-related overdose. Millions now have what’s called opioid use disorder. Drug overdose deaths in the year ending May 2020 reached a record high. Meanwhile, the interim F.D.A. commissioner, Dr. Janet Woodcock, long known as the nation’s top drug cop, is reported to be under consideration by the Biden administration to permanently lead the agency. (Beth Macy, 2/23)
Los Angeles Times:
We Need To Tighten Up Regulations On 'Ghost Guns'
For several years now, some gun makers have been exploiting a loophole in federal regulations to evade a range of gun control measures by selling firearms in pieces to be assembled later by consumers, including people barred from owning a gun. It’s a preposterous situation, and the Biden administration should either address it through stronger regulations under existing congressional authority, or work with Congress on a legislative fix. The issue centers on so-called ghost guns, which consist of untraceable parts that can be ordered online and then, with a little finishing work, assembled into a working firearm. The gun parts fall outside federal regulation because the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives held that while the core section of a gun — called a receiver or a frame — meets the legal definition of a firearm, an incomplete receiver or frame does not. (2/24)
The Washington Post:
The U.S. Should Reveal Its Intelligence About The Wuhan Laboratory
The United States possesses classified intelligence information about illnesses in the autumn of 2019, before the global pandemic, at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, or WIV, which was carrying out research on bat coronaviruses very similar in genetic makeup to the pandemic virus. The intelligence should be declassified, and soon. Then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Donald Trump missed no opportunity to bash China over the virus, trying to divert attention from Mr. Trump’s disastrous pandemic response. Setting aside this scapegoating, the origins of the coronavirus remain unknown. (2/22)
Three Steps Can Help Companies Speed FDA Drug Approval
Drug developers see Food and Drug Administration approval as a difficult uphill climb, requiring large investments of resources and time. But when it comes to new drug applications and biologics license applications, it’s usually not the FDA that slows down the process. (William Feehery and Julie Bullock, 2/24)