Sharpless named acting FDA commissioner

BY Sandra Levy

Health and Human Services secretary Alex Azar announced Tuesday that Norman “Ned” Sharpless, the director of the National Cancer Institute, will serve as acting Food and Drug Administration commissioner when outgoing commissioner Scott Gottlieb steps down in early April. The announcement was made as Azar testified before Congress about President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2020, and confirmed on Twitter by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Sharpless will fill the role while President Trump and his administration work “as quickly as possible” to name a permanent commissioner for Senate approval, Azar told Congress.

Gottlieb announced his resignation last week, citing the strains of commuting each week from Connecticut, where his family still lives.Azar said Gottlieb enjoyed an “incredibly successful tenure” at the agency before deciding to step aside.

Sharpless has led the National Cancer Insitute — a part of the National Institutes of Health since October 2017. National Cancer Institute deputy director, Douglas Lowy, will become acting director while Sharpless fills in at the FDA, Azar said.


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