The question on who will replace outgoing FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has now been answered – at least for the interim.
Dr. Norman Sharpless, director of the National Cancer Institute is set to become the acting commissioner of FDA. Alex Azarr III, the secretary of health and human services made the announcement on Tuesday during a House and Energy Commerce Health Subcommittee, according to a report from CBNC.
Azarr stressed that this is a temporary and there was still a search effort to find a permanent replacement. Sharpless was director of NCI for since October of 2017. Douglas Lowy, who was once acting director of NCI from April 2015 to October 2017 is expected to once again become acting director of the position.
The news comes nearly a week after Gottlieb, who has held the position since 2017, revealed he was stepping down for personal reasons. Gottlieb was known for being strict on tobacco companies, as well as warning of the growing danger of teens vaping and developing policies to help tackle the opioid crisis.
Gottlieb’s resignation took Washington and the industry by storm. He was well respected and drew praise from everyone from medtech industry groups to President Donald Trump. Gottlieb, who will leave sometime next month, doled out praise of his own to Sharpless on Tuesday.
I’m delighted by the announcement from @SecAzar that @NCIDirector will serve as acting commissioner of #FDA. Ned is a friend to FDA, a great public health champion, a dedicated physician, and will be warmly welcomed into his new role. FDA will benefit greatly from his leadership.
— Scott Gottlieb, M.D. (@SGottliebFDA) March 12, 2019