The Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday approved the nomination of Mark McClellan, M.D., as CMS administrator by a vote of 18-2, with one abstention.
Normally the full Senate would take up the matter, but it cannot because of a formal hold put on the nomination by Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.). Dorgan said he would not remove the hold until McClellan testifies before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on drug reimportation.
At issue is McClellan's stated opposition while Food and Drug Administration commissioner to efforts to allow the elderly to buy lower-cost drugs from Canada.
In a news release, Dorgan said McClellan has twice refused to testify before the committee. In confirmation hearings Monday, McClellan said he would appear before the panel if confirmed as CMS administrator. He also said he would work with Congress to make sure reimporting drugs would be safe for consumers.
"That is not satisfactory to me," Dorgan said.