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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release December 15, 1998
                     VICE PRESIDENT GORE SWEARS IN
                          DR. JANE E. HENNEY 

Washington, DC -- Vice President Gore today swore in Dr. Jane Henney as the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and reiterated the Administration's commitment to this critical agency that protects the nation's health.

Dr. Henney, the first woman and first oncologist to serve in the role, has served four Presidents and helped guide some of America's finest academic health centers. Her expertise in science and technology and lifelong dedication to individual patients will enable her to strike the important balance between timely approval of prescription drugs and medical devices and maintaining safety and quality.

"There are few positions that touch our lives in so many fundamental ways as that of the FDA Commissioner," Vice President Gore said. "To do the job well, it takes a person of strong judgement, and clear vision; it takes a person of compassion and reason; it takes not just a scientist, but a true humanist. I believe America has found just the right person in Dr. Jane Henney."

During her confirmation hearings, Dr. Henney underscored her strong commitment to improving the safety of our nation's foods and to modernizing the agency.

The Vice President also highlighted the Administration's longstanding commitment to improving and modernizing the FDA for the 21st century, both through its reinventing government initiatives and by enacting the FDA Modernization Act of 1997. These efforts have allowed the agency to safely expedite the approval of effective drugs and medical devices, while maintaining its commitment to the public health.

For example, since 1993 FDA has cut drug approval times in half from a median of 30 months to 14 months and doubled the number of biological products approved including 10 new AIDS drugs and 20 new drugs for AIDS-related conditions.

The Vice President also commended the Democrats and Republicans who worked to give Dr. Henney a full and fair hearing and helped expedite her confirmation. He also recognized and thanked health care consumers, public health experts, physicians, and nurses for their steadfast and strong support of Dr. Henney.