SENATE LABOR & HUMAN RESOURCES CMTE. WILL HAVE ONE NEW MEMBER WHEN IT RECONSIDERS DRUG EXPORT BILL IN 1985, FOLLOWING SEN. RANDOLPH's RETIREMENT
The Senate Labor & Human Resources Cmte. will have at least one new face when it resumes consideration of chairman Hatch's drug export bill in the 99th Congress beginning in January. The new member of the Hatch cmte. will be assigned to replace Sen. Randolph (D-W.Va.), who is retiring after 26 years in the Senate. Two other senators on the Hatch cmte. are up for re-election but are considered safe bets to be returned to their Senate seats: Sens. Thurmond (R-S.C.) and Pell (D-R.I.). The Labor & Human Resources Cmte. was a focal point in the last Congress for such health-related legislation as the patent/ANDA law and Hatch's Pharmaceutical Export Reform Bill. The export bill, which would allow for the export of drugs not approved in this country, failed to reach the mark-up stage in the Senate and was never introduced in the House. Hatch indicated a strong interest in the export issue in the last Congress, which adjourned Oct. 12. He held hearings on the proposal in conjunction with the cmte.'s consideration of the ANDA/patent measure ("The Pink Sheet" July 2, p. 3). Hatch may want to return to the export measure quickly while the issue is still fresh from the just-completed session. One possible candidate to fill the cmte. vacancy left by Randolph's retirement is Albert Gore. The Tennessee Democrat is leaving the House after eight years to run for the Senate and is currently a heavy favorite to succeed the retiring Republican Sen. Baker. Current surveys show Gore to be running approximately 20 percentage points ahead of his Republican opponent Victor Ashe and even further ahead of an Independent candidate, Ed McAteer. FDA Watchdog Weiss, Handy Winner In Primary, Facing Little Opposition In General Election Gore has been a prominent player in health issues during his tenure in the House. From his positions on the Commerce/Oversight Subcmte. and chairman of the Science & Technology/Investigations Subcmte., he has assumed leading roles in stopping the Patent Term Restoration Bill in 1982; in passing infant formula standards legislation; in establishing genetic bio-engineering technology guidelines; in passing the Organ Transplant Bill; and in proposing a middle-ground approach to the switching of Rx drugs to OTC status. Running for Gore's vacated House seat are Bart Gordon, formerly chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party, and Franklin businessman Joseph Simpkins. Gordon is said to hold a comfortable lead over his Republican opponent, but neither is making health issues the focus of his campaign strategy. Two congressmen who have been active in health legislation by virtue of their positions on Rep. Waxman's (D-Calif.) Health Subcmte. are in more hotly contested election races: Reps. Luken (D-Ohio) and Sikorski (D-Min.). Sikorski is facing his first re-election fight, and such challenges are generally recognized as difficult. His Republican opponent, Pat Truman, worked for the 1982 campaign of former Rep. Arlen Erdahl, whom Sikorski unseated with 50.1% of the vote; a swing of 1,300 votes would have altered the outcome. Although aides for both candidates say that the incumbent currently holds a "slight lead," Truman's staff points out that President Reagan and Republican Sen. Boschwitz in their most recent campaigns each enjoyed 20% advantages in Minnesota's conservative sixth district. An aide to Sikorski said he does not fear Truman "so much as Reagan's coattails." As a member of the Health Subcmte., Sikorski has had a hand in legislation involving organ transplants, long-term health care, nursing homes, authorization for the Natl. Institutes of Health, smoking, and oversight of medical device regulation. However, his campaign is not highlighting his activities on the subcmte. Nor has Buffalo, Minn. lawyer Truman made health issues key to his challenge. A supplyside conservative, Truman is focusing on lowering taxes and balancing the federal budget. The 35-year-old candidate has also been general counsel and exec director of Americans United for Life, an antiabortion organization, and founded its Legal Defense Fund. Luken, seeking his fifth term in Congress, is being challenged by Norman Murdoch, a 20-year veteran of Ohio state politics. Luken was reportedly "heavily favored" and is currently enjoying a lead of about 10 percentage points. However, Murdoch is said to be gaining on the incumbent, and the race is consequently "closer than expected," according to one observer. Although Luken is campaigning in Ohio's first district mainly on tax and budget deficit issues, he was closely involved with health-related bills that passed this year.He sponsored one of the earliest versions of the pharmacy crime legislation, and he cosponsored the Organ Transplant Bill. Murdoch has been a Hamilton County commissioner the past six years. He also spent 12 years in the state legislature and has name recognition among Ohio voters. Rep. Weiss (D-NY) is one congressman who has been involved in health issues but is not focusing on them in his campaign for a different reason. Weiss is reportedly enjoying an extremely comfortable lead over his Republican challenger, Ken Kapstan. An aide said Weiss "doesn't really have a campaign" in New York City's liberal 17th district. The staffer added that the congressman's "real challenge" occurred in the primary, where Weiss captured 84% of the vote.
You may also be interested in...
Newly released Medicare Part D data sheds light on the sales hit that branded pharmaceutical manufacturers will face when the coverage gap discount program gets under way in 2011
FDA appears headed for a showdown with clinicians and the pharmaceutical industry over the proposed new clinical trial endpoints for acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections, the guidance's approach for justifying a non-inferiority margin and proposed changes in the types of patients that should be enrolled in trials
Specialty drug maker Shire has quietly begun scouting deals with a brand-new $50 million venture fund, the latest of several in-house investment arms to launch with their parent company's pipelines, not profits, as the measure of their worth