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HOUSE OVERSIGHT SUBCOMMITTEE INVESTIGATOR NELSON LEAVING

Executive Summary

HOUSE OVERSIGHT SUBCOMMITTEE INVESTIGATOR NELSON LEAVING the Hill staff after more than 12 years and five years of aggressive investigation of the drug industry. David Nelson has spent the last three years working intensively on the subcommittee's generic drug investigation. Before that, he was a key figure in the investigation of drug counterfeiting and diversion that led up to the Prescription Drug Marketing Act. Nelson has been assisted in the generic investigations by Claudia Beville, a subcommittee staffer since 1987, who will continue after Nelson's departure. Beville began work on drug industry issues earlier this year when she replaced Reid Stuntz as the subcommittee's other investigator in the generic drug inquiry. Stuntz moved up to subcommittee staff director. Nelson has announced neither his career plans nor a date when he will leave the staff. It is believed he will remain through July 11, the date of a subcommittee hearing scheduled to feature FDA Commissioner Kessler. His official title on the staff is "economist;" he has completed all requirements but a dissertation for a PhD in economics from the University of Houston. A subcommittee spokesperson said Nelson is exhausted by the generic drug issue and has decided it is time for a change. The decision comes at a time when the subcommittee effort is shifting from an investigative thrust to a legislative one. Rep. Dingell's (D-Mich.) key legislative aides for the debarment bill (HR 2454) include lawyers David Keaney from the full committee and subcommittee Staff Director Stuntz. The recent, ice-breaking compromise between Dingell's staff and the staff of Health Subcommittee Chairman Waxman (D-Calif.) was negotiated while Nelson was on a three-week vacation. The negotiations led to the introduction of HR 2454. Nelson is believed to be a strong proponent of tough enforcement/debarment provisions. Waxman shifted to support the bill only after the mandatory debarment provisions were cut from three years to one.
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