Trump to pick Texas cancer doctor to head FDA thumbnail

Trump to pick Texas cancer doctor to head FDA

Hahn — who emerged as the clear frontrunner for the FDA job in September — was part of the Public Health Service in the early 1990s and served as the chief of the National Cancer Institute’s prostate cancer clinic in 1994 and 1995. He has not been in government service for about 25 years.
The Trump administration had faced a statutory deadline for nominating a permanent commissioner on Friday. Ned Sharpless, who had been the acting FDA commissioner since Gottlieb’s departure this spring, could only have remained in the position through Friday if Trump didn’t nominate a new commissioner. However, the Trump administration instead will temporarily name HHS Assistant Secretary of Health Brett Giroir as the interim FDA chief until Hahn is installed.
As FDA commissioner, Hahn would oversee a sprawling bureaucracy with a $5.4 billion budget that regulates products that account for about 20 cents of every dollar spent by U.S. consumers. The agency’s portfolio ranges far beyond Hahn’s experience in drugs and medical devices to food, animal health and tobacco policy. He’ll immediately have to address a public health crisis surrounding electronic vaping products and the Trump administration’s plans to regulate e-cigarettes.
The politically charged nature of the e-cigarette debate could slow the confirmation process, said Mark McClellan, a former FDA commissioner in the George W. Bush administration. Senators could delay advancing the nomination in order to showcase their concerns over regulations and industries that fall under the agency’s jurisdiction.
“In the past there have been holds put on, not for any personal reasons but because there are so many issues that FDA deals with that members have strong feelings about,” he said in an interview.
For example, former President Barack Obama’s second pick to head the agency, Robert Califf, was held up over concerns about FDA’s work on opioids, although lawmakers had no particular objections to Califf’s background on the topic.
McClellan said he could envision senators slowing down Hahn’s nomination over e-cigarette regulation, regardless whether the concern is FDA isn’t moving more aggressively on flavored e-cigarettes targeted at children or if some lawmakers believe FDA is restricting access to products that could, if properly regulated, help reduce smoking.
But McClellan wasn’t concerned about Hahn’s lack of experience on tobacco policy, saying “there are so many public health issues
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