After the abrupt departure of former FDA head Dr. Scott Gottlieb earlier this year, President Donald Trump today nominated his replacement. Dr. Stephen Hahn has been tapped to lead the government agency that oversees tobacco regulation as well as policies for everything from drugs and medical devices to food and animal health.
A well-known oncologist who currently serves as the chief medical executive at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Hahn worked for the Public Health Service in the early 1990s before joining the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1996.
Should Hahn successfully make it through the vetting process and be confirmed by the Senate, it would be his first government post in 25 years. Hahn would come in at a time when the FDA faces much scrutiny as the nation tries to navigate the e-cigarette and vaping epidemic.
Additionally, the FDA is embroiled in two lawsuits that were filed in response to the agency’s draconian Final Deeming Rule; one encomposses all cigars while the other focuses focuses only on premium smokes.
In the meantime, Deputy Health and Human Services Secretary Brett Giroir will serve as acting commissioner.
Dr. Norman E. Sharpless has been serving as acting director of the FDA since April.