Stephen Hahn, a chief medical executive at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, has been tapped by President Trump to be the new FDA commissioner. The 59-year-old is a radiation oncologist that specializes in treating lung cancer and sarcoma. He has authored 220 peer-reviewed original research articles.
AdvaMed was highly supportive of the decision giving Hahn praise. In a release, the device-advocacy agency said, “We congratulate Dr. Hahn on his nomination to lead FDA, and we hope the Senate moves swiftly to confirm him. Dr. Hahn’s distinguished career as a healthcare provider and researcher gives him a unique perspective on the importance of patient access to the latest medical advances. His extensive management experience and evidence-based approach to addressing the significant healthcare challenges we face today will serve him well in his new post. We look forward to working with him on behalf of the patients our industry serves.”
The nomination comes nearly eight months after Scott Gottlieb announced he was stepping down from the position for personal reasons. Shortly after Gottlieb’s announced departure, Norman Sharpless, director of the National Cancer Institute, was named “acting” FDA commissioner until a replacement could be found.
The Hill is reporting that Brett Giroir, the current assistant secretary for health, will become the acting FDA commissioner, while the Senate considers Hahn’s nomination. Sharpless is expected to return to the NCI, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“Under Dr. Sharpless’s leadership for the past seven months, FDA has forged ahead in its essential work of protecting the public health,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in a release. 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. I am very grateful to have had Dr. Sharpless as a partner in these efforts.”
Azar added, “I look forward to having him back at NCI, where he can continue the important work he has led on administration priorities, such as pediatric cancer, rural cancer care, and precision medicine …”
If Hahn is confirmed then he will have some meaty issues to delve into, including the vaping controversy; the emergence of AI-related technologies; lowering drug prices, and the growing opioid epidemic.