November 21, 2019

Senate HELP Committee Questions FDA Commissioner-Nominee Dr. Stephen Hahn

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner-Nominee Stephen M. Hahn, MD, was questioned on his views about molybdenum-99/technetium-99m supply as well as other important topics of general interest during a November 20 confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP) Committee.

The hearing focused on major issues related to FDA regulatory oversight, especially flavored vaping and youth nicotine addiction, the opioid crisis and drug pricing. During questioning, Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) asked Hahn about his views on molybdenum-99/technetium-99m availability, to which he recalled triaging nuclear medicine imaging studies when Tc-99m was in short supply.

Hahn indicated general support for ongoing research and development efforts to foster a stable supply of Tc-99m through domestic commercial production made possible by the American College of Radiology® (ACR®)-endorsed American Medical Isotope Production Act.

Hahn is a radiation oncologist and currently serves as the chief medical executive at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston. The ACR provided the HELP committee with a letter of support for his confirmation.

The HELP committee is planning to report its recommendation on Hahn’s nomination by Thanksgiving Day, though the remaining Senate confirmation process can be lengthy depending on prioritization and other circumstances.