Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Food and Drug Administration is refusing to sign a draft letter that would force the agency to quickly approve new drugs without a trial or regulatory review.
Tom Price, the Trump administration’s nominee for deputy FDA commissioner, said he would not sign the letter that was issued Monday.
The draft letter, which has been circulating among pharmaceutical companies and lawmakers, calls for the FDA to expedite its review of new drugs and for the agency’s director, Julie Brandt, to publicly explain the agency “as soon as practicable.”
In a statement, Price said, “The draft will not be approved by the Senate and I am confident that it will be swiftly rejected by the House.”
The letter is not the first time Price has been in the spotlight for his role in crafting the FDA’s fast track approval process.
Last month, Price made headlines when he wrote a letter to the House Judiciary Committee urging Brandt to resign, and he told reporters in Washington last week that he would “not resign.”
“I think we have to look at the whole picture, and I think we need to take a step back and look at what’s going on,” Price said.
Trump has also faced criticism for his past remarks about the FDA and other drug approvals.
In 2016, he called the FDA “the worst agency in the world,” and he recently called the agency a “total disaster” and “the greatest in the history of the world.”
“The FDA has gotten worse over time,” Price told reporters during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last month.
“The whole FDA is a disaster.”
Price’s comments about the agency came after Brandt was criticized for failing to meet the standard for the first fast track drug approval in more than 20 years.
Brandt, who is also the deputy FDA director, was tasked with overseeing the agency under the Obama administration, but the Trump White House has criticized her for not fully complying with the new FDA regulations.
The FDA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.