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Cancer doctor chosen for top FDA post

Dr. Stephen Hahn of Texas formally nominated to be next commissioner of Food & Drug Administration.

President Donald Trump has named Dr. Stephen Hahn as administrator of the Food & Drug Administration following the resignation earlier this year of FDA administrator Scott Gottlieb.

Hahn has been chief medical executive at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC) in Houston, Texas, since May 2018 and the Gilbert H. Fletcher Memorial distinguished chair and professor of radiation oncology at MDACC since January 2015. MDACC is a research-driven patient care organization that has approximately 21,000 employees, annual revenue of $5 billion and the largest number of clinical trials in the U.S.

The American Feed Industry Assn. (AFIA) said in a statement it is glad to see the FDA commissioner nominee process move forward. “We look forward to working with Dr. Stephen Hahn and acquainting him with the animal food sector and the importance of an efficient review process of animal food ingredients,” AFIA president and chief executive officer Constance Cullman said.

Dr. Ned Sharpless, who has been serving as acting commissioner of food and drugs, will be returning to his role as director of the National Cancer Institute. The Federal Vacancies Reform Act requires that a person may not serve in an “acting” capacity for longer than 210 days.

In the interim, pending what the Administration hopes will be the expeditious confirmation of Hahn, since all duties and authorities of the commissioner of food and drugs reside with the secretary of health and human services, the secretary is delegating all delegable duties to Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health.

“Under Dr. Sharpless’s leadership for the past seven months, FDA has forged ahead in its essential work of protecting the public health. Dr. Sharpless’s willingness to step into the role of acting commissioner and to lead the team at FDA with a steady hand ensured that the agency did not miss a beat in advancing its vital mission,” Health & Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said.

Azar added that “Giroir has been an indispensable leader for HHS on a number of public health priorities. As assistant secretary for health, whose authorities include overseeing the U.S. Public Health Service, he will be able to assume the delegable duties of the commissioner at this time and ensure the FDA’s work continues to move forward.”

TAGS: Policy
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