Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Could the fate of silicone breast implants in America depend upon the midterm elections?

Besides philosophic differences between Republicans & Democrats on Iraq, Social Security, the Economy, abortion rights, and other issues, there is a chance that breast implants (of all things) could be caught up in partisanship.

There's a real interesting drama playing out about the expected FDA approval of silicone breast implants for unrestricted cosmetic surgery indications. By all indications we have expected approval with some strings attached re. long-term surveillance. The approval last week by Health Canada has made this seem even yet more imminent and has the Siliconistas firing up their PR machine.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Olympia Snowe (Republican in name only-Maine) have now joined the fray in trying to intimidate the FDA into delaying action on their own advisory committee's report from 2005 which recommended approval for major manufacturers, Inamed & Mentor Corp.

Earlier this month Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn)took an aggressive posture on this issue, siding with activists intent on stopping silicone implants by any means necessary. Mrs. DeLauro is the ranking Democratic member of the House Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee, a committee which controls in large part the purse strings of the FDA.

Which brings us to this $64,000 question:

With the midterm congressional elections in 2 weeks, does the fate of silicone implants hang on whether Democrats recapture the house and turn Rosa DeLauro overnight into Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee? It is conceivable that she could an end run around international scientific & medical consensus and tie this up indefinitely if she assumes the leadership position.


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