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FDA Names Acting Commissioner

National Cancer Institute director to take Gottlieb’s post temporarily; search for replacement underway
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Photograph: Shutterstock

WASHINGTON While searching for a replacement to head the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Trump administration has named Norman “Ned” Sharpless, the current director of the National Cancer Institute, as acting commissioner for the agency, according to The Hill.

Earlier this month, the FDA’s current chief, Scott Gottlieb, announced his resignation after holding the position of commissioner for a little less than two years.

Gottlieb, who made headlines with his aggressive efforts to curb flavors in vaping devices and separately made strides in the area of menu labeling, leaves many questions about the future tenor and tenacity of these priorities.

Those directions, at least temporarily, now rest on Sharpless’ shoulders. “Sharpless’ deep scientific background and expertise will make him a strong leader for FDA,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar in a statement. “There will be no letup in the agency’s focus, from ongoing efforts on drug approvals and combating the opioid crisis to modernizing food safety and addressing the rapid rise in youth use of e-cigarettes.”

The process of finding a permanent successor for Gottlieb is underway, Azar said.

“[Sharpless] shares our mission and will be embraced warmly by the agency’s professional staff,” Gottlieb said in a statement. “Under his skilled leadership, I’m confident the transition will be seamless and the FDA will continue to secure its consumer-protection role and advance policies to promote innovation and safety for families.”

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