On Tuesday, the Senate voted 62-36 to approve Dr. Monica Bertagnolli as leader of the National Institutes of Health.
Almost all members of the Democratic party, along with 13 members of the Republican party, voted to fill the position responsible for managing federal research grants, which has been vacant since Dr. Francis Collins departed almost two years ago.
The Senate Appropriations Chair stated that Dr. Bertagnolli is the ideal individual to maintain the NIH’s leadership in innovative research and accomplish its vital goal of promoting health, advancing equity, and keeping our nation competitive. They also mentioned that under Dr. Bertagnolli’s guidance, patients worldwide can have genuine hope for the future.Patty Murray
In a speech prior to the vote, (D-Wash.) addressed the audience.
Although Bertagnolli’s confirmation process was smooth, she faced some challenges along the way. In May, President Joe Biden nominated her for the position of leading the NIH, and she eventually won confirmation.Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) held up her nomination for months in an effort to extract a comprehensive plan to lower drug prices from the White House.
He and Pennsylvania Sen. John Fetterman
Only the Democratic caucus members and thirty-four Republicans voted against confirmation.
During his speech prior to the vote, Sanders referred to Bertagnolli, who previously served as the head of the National Cancer Institute, as an “intelligent and compassionate individual.” However, he expressed doubts about her ability to challenge the greed and influence of pharmaceutical companies.
Fetterman expressed similar concerns as Sanders.
As chair of the Senate committee with jurisdiction over health care nominees, Sanders refused to hold a panel vote until last month when he relented after
The Biden administration made an agreement with biotech company Regeneron that included a fair pricing condition for a potential Covid treatment being developed with government aid.
Five Republican members of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee crossed party lines to move Bertagnolli’s nomination forward, alongside the Democrats.
During her confirmation hearing
Last month, Sanders and the member with the highest rank.Bill Cassidy
The representative from Louisiana, R-La., questioned Bertagnolli about her strategy for setting drug prices and asked if she would include fair pricing terms in NIH contracts. She responded to both members by stating that she could not promise a specific drug pricing policy.
Bertagnolli provided perspective on her main focuses as the director of NIH, which involves enhancing clinical studies.
During her appearance before the HELP committee last month, she expressed her desire to improve clinical trials by making them faster, more inclusive, and better suited to meet the needs of individuals. As someone with extensive expertise in this area, it is one of her top priorities for the NIH.