The nomination of Jane E. Henney, MD, 51, to be come the first woman to head the Food and Drug Administration, is likely to encounter a prolonged confirmation process, say Washington observers.
Sen. James M. Jeffords (R-Vt.), who chairs the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee which will consider the nomination, said a number of senators have raised questions about the nominee who served as deputy to former FDA Commissioner David A. Kessler, MD, from 1992 to 1994.
Dr. Henney is vice president for health services at the University of New Mexico and a cancer specialist.
Washington observers say the nomination hearings could open discussions about the power of the FDA, harking back to concerns about the agenda of Dr. Kessler. She has the backing of the American Medical Association and is strongly endorsed by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.)