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This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

HOUSE INTERGOVERNMENTAL SUBCOMMITTEE AIDE ZELLER MOVES TO FDA April 19 to become special assistant to Deputy Commissioner for Policy Michael Taylor. Mitchell Zeller worked as an aide to the House Government Operations/human resources and intergovernmental relations subcommittee since late 1988 and is the last professional staff member who served under the late Chairman Ted Weiss (D-N.Y.). Weiss, who died last September, has been succeeded by Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) ("The Tan Sheet" March 1, p. 3). The subcommittee was reorganized on Feb. 18 and will continue to oversee FDA operations. New chairman Towns is said to be interested in health care reform and in ensuring that user fee revenues are used to expedite the agency's drug approval process. However, in the wake of Weiss' death and the departure of his staff, the subcommittee is not likely to continue the kind of detailed scrutiny of FDA's scientific decision-making it conducted in the past. FDA issues Zeller worked on include contamination problems with nutritional supplement L-tryptophan, health claims for foods, FDA policy concessions to the Bush Administration's Council on Competitiveness, FDA-approved label claims for antiarrhythmic drugs Tambocor and Enkaid, and animal drug residues. The subcommittee under Weiss also probed OTC issues such as cough and cold claims for antihistamines, but those investigations were organized by former staffer Diana Zuckerman, who left the subcommittee to join the Public Health Service's Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Center for Mental Health in January.

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