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Hahn Resigns as F.D.A. Commissioner; Woodcock Named Interim Chief

Hahn Resigns as F.D.A. Commissioner; Woodcock Named Interim Chief
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Hahn Resigns as F.D.A. Commissioner; Woodcock Named Interim Chief

Hahn Resigns as F.D.A. Commissioner; Woodcock Named Interim Chief

Dr. Stephen M. Hahn, who turned commissioner of the Meals and Drug Administration simply weeks earlier than the coronavirus pandemic started, resigned on Wednesday because the administration of President Biden started.

Dr. Janet Woodcock, the longtime head of the F.D.A.’s Middle for Drug Analysis and Overview, will function performing commissioner, based on an company official.

Starting in Might, Dr. Woodcock had been assigned to Operation Warp Velocity, the previous administration’s program to speed up vaccine and therapy growth in opposition to the coronavirus.

She has labored on the F.D.A. since 1986, serving in a wide range of key roles, amongst them chief medical officer and deputy commissioner.

The Biden administration has not but nominated a everlasting commissioner, however Dr. Woodcock is without doubt one of the candidates into account, based on a number of advisers to the brand new president’s transition crew. Dr. Amy Abernethy, principal deputy commissioner, can be into account, as is Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, a former company official, who’s vice dean for public well being apply and neighborhood engagement at Johns Hopkins College.

Dr. Hahn’s resignation was anticipated, a part of the routine departure of senior political appointees that occurs when a brand new administration takes workplace. In a farewell message to the F.D.A. workers on Wednesday, he wrote: “As a nation, and as a public well being company, we confronted some massive challenges and turbulent occasions over the previous yr, most notably these stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic. By all of it, F.D.A. workers have been vital in serving to to answer the illness with very actual scientific advances just like the authorization of the primary nonprescription OTC [over the counter] Covid check, the authorization and approval of an anti-viral agent and the primary two F.D.A. licensed Covid-19 vaccines.”

Dr. Hahn confronted appreciable criticism over the course of the pandemic, accused of bowing to political strain from President Trump and the White Home in granting emergency use authorizations for unproven therapies like hydroxychloroquine that didn’t produce proof that they labored. In current months, he has presided over critiques of the primary vaccines to be allowed in opposition to the virus, the Pfizer and Moderna merchandise.

Up to now underneath different presidential administrations, Dr. Woodcock, 72, has been within the operating for the F.D.A.’s high publish. She was first dropped at the F.D.A.’s drug division by Dr. David Kessler, the previous F.D.A. commissioner who was named the chief science officer for the Biden administration’s vaccine efforts, which is able to now not be referred to as Operation Warp Velocity.

The Biden administration has not indicated when an F.D.A. commissioner could be named.

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