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What We're Reading: FDA Recruiting; Azar Meets With Lawmakers; Kavanaugh Emails

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Speaking at a conference organized by the Association for Accessible Medicines, an FDA official said the Trump administration’s restrictions on hiring foreign scientists are making it more difficult for the agency to attract top scientific talent; HHS Secretary Alex Azar met with Republican lawmakers on the House Ways and Means Committee to discuss ways to lower drug prices; previously secret emails from Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s time working for President George W. Bush provoked new scrutiny during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing regarding his views on abortion and other women’s health issues.

FDA Official Says Security Rules Making it Harder to Recruit Scientific Talent

Speaking at a conference organized by the Association for Accessible Medicines, the generic drug industry’s trade group, an FDA official said the Trump administration’s restrictions on hiring foreign scientists are making it more difficult for the agency to attract top scientific talent, STAT reported. Melanie Keller, the FDA’s acting associate commissioner for scientific and clinical recruitment, was referring to a Department of Homeland Security policy the agency has been implementing since at least last August, which requires the agency to restrict many of its employment offers to people who have lived in the United States for 3 of the past 5 years.

Azar Meets With GOP Representatives to DIscuss Drug Pricing

HHS Secretary Alex Azar met with Republican lawmakers on the House Ways and Means Committee to discuss ways to lower drug prices, The Hill reported, although specifics of possible actions that might be taken were not disclosed. Lawmakers discussed rebates with Azar, according to Representative Tom Reed of New York, and House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady of Texas said he expects the administration to announce actions in the near future.

Kavanaugh Emails From Bush White House Raise Concerns About Women's Health

Previously secret emails from Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s time working for President George W. Bush provoked new scrutiny during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing regarding his views on abortion and other women’s health issues, The New York Times reported. Kavanaugh previously said he considered Roe v Wade settled precedent, but in a disclosed 2003 email, he wrote: “I am not sure that all legal scholars refer to Roe as the settled law of the land at the Supreme Court level since Court can always overrule its precedent, and three current Justices on the Court would do so.” In another email, he described contraceptives as “abortion-inducing drugs.”

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