Senators Put Hold on Nomination for FDA Chief

Two Democratic senators said Tuesday they will not stop blocking President Bush's nominee to lead the Food and Drug Administration until the agency decides whether the emergency contraceptive Plan B can go on sale without a prescription.

Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y, told reporters that they met Tuesday with Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach but were unable to get a Plan B update.

"He gave us no status and he couldn't give us any kind of timeline," Murray said.

The FDA has held off on a decision on Plan B since Barr Laboratories Inc. first applied to sell the pill without a prescription in 2003.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has not set a date for hearings on von Eschenbach, said Craig Orfield, a spokesman for the chairman, Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo. Enzi has urged the White House to resolve the Plan B issue, Orfield said.