U.S. lawmaker urges fresh face at FDA’s helm

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President-elect Barack Obama should find someone outside the U.S. Food and Drug Administration with a fresh perspective to run the agency, a U.S. Democratic lawmaker said in a letter released on Friday.

“Current senior FDA employees are too close with the industries they regulate, creating a question of who they are working for. A new commissioner or interim commissioner must bring the agency back to the forefront of science, integrity, and transparency,” Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan said in a December 3 letter to Obama.

The FDA’s current leader, Andrew von Eschenbach, is widely expected to leave the agency by the time Bush leaves office but has not made any public announcement.

“The commissioner serves at the pleasure of the president and would, as a matter of protocol, tender his resignation to President Bush at the conclusion of his term,” FDA spokeswoman Judy Leon said.

Drugmakers, consumer advocates and others have been speculating about who will replace the Texas urologist, either permanently, or temporarily until a replacement is tapped and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

The ideal candidate would be a medical doctor who also has experience running a large health department or university health center, many have said.

Possible contenders whose names have been floated include Cleveland Clinic cardiologist and frequent FDA critic Steve Nissen; and Joshua Sharfstein, who oversees Baltimore’s health department and was vocal with concerns about the risks of cough and cold medicines for children.

Nissen, who spoke about “restoring the FDA” at a conference in Washington on Thursday, said “no comment” when asked if he was in the running for the agency’s top job.

Drugmakers have spoken favorably of a seasoned FDA insider, Janet Woodcock, as a possible replacement for von Eschenbach.

Stupak, a Michigan Democrat who heads the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s oversight subcommittee, has led a series of investigations into the FDA’s handling of dangerous side effects from prescription drugs and other matters.

Woodcock, head of the FDA’s drug division, has been on the receiving end of harsh criticism at many of the hearings, and has defended the agency’s response to drug safety issues.

“I would encourage you not to appoint any current senior FDA employee as commissioner or interim commissioner of the FDA,” Stupak told Obama.

Officials with Obama’s transition team were not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey and Lisa Richwine; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

Source

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Related Posts:


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach has told staff he will leave the agency on January 20, the day Barack Obama becomes president. In a memo sent on Monday, von Eschenbach said he would return home to Texas to spend time with his family after leaving the FDA. “Until my final

Full Post: FDA chief to leave post when Obama takes office
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By Susan Heavey WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic lawmakers are expanding a probe into direct-to-consumer drug advertisements to include Bayer AG’s combination aspirin product, according to letters released on Tuesday. Bayer’s marketing of its Aspirin with Heart Advantage, a combination product that includes a dietary supplement, appears to go against a U.S. Food and Drug Administration request not

Full Post: Lawmakers question ads for Bayer “herbal” aspirin
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Most of the heads of the U.S. agencies under the Health and Human Services Department will be replaced by their deputies by January 20, when Barack Obama is sworn in as president, employees learned on Friday. An e-mail issued on Friday evening listed all of the agency heads who will go, ranging from

Full Post: Most health agency heads replaced before Obama
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, hampered by increasing globalization and a rise in complex products, may not be able to adequately protect the public’s health, the watchdog arm of Congress said in new findings released on Thursday. “As a result, the American consumer may not be adequately protected from unsafe and ineffective

Full Post: Report cites FDA’s weaknesses over drugs, devices
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States issued an import alert for Chinese-made food products on Thursday, calling for foods to be stopped at the border unless importers can certify they are either free of dairy or free of melamine. Two top U.S. health officials announced they will go to China next week to open food inspection

Full Post: U.S. bans melamine-tainted Chinese dairy products

Site Navigation

Most Read

Search