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President Trump to Nominate Dr. Stephen Hahn as FDA Commissioner

November 6, 2019

President Trump announced on November 1 his intent to nominate Dr. Stephen Hahn to be the next FDA Commissioner. Dr. Hahn is a radiation oncologist and currently serves as the Chief Medical Officer of MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. At MD Anderson, Hahn manages a $5.2 billion operating budget, 20,300 employees, 7,000 trainees, and more than 3,000 volunteers. He has never served in a government post.

The change in FDA leadership stems from former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb’s resignation in April. Dr. Gottlieb was confirmed as FDA Commissioner in May 2017 and drove several significant initiatives from food safety modernization to youth nicotine use. In April, Dr. Ned Sharpless became Acting FDA Commissioner. However, due to the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, Dr. Sharpless’s term with the Agency expired on November 1. The Act stipulates that a person may not serve in an “Acting” capacity for longer than 210 days. Dr. Sharpless has since returned to his role as Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Admiral Brett Giroir, Assistant Secretary for Health, will oversee the FDA, pending Dr. Hahn’s confirmation, according to a press release from U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar.