FDA chief will resign at end of Bush's term

Source of Article:  http://www.boston.com/business/healthcare/articles/2008/12/17/fda_chief_will_resign_at_end_of_bushs_term/

Associated Press / December 17, 2008

WASHINGTON - Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach, who made progress in stabilizing a troubled Food and Drug Administration, will resign from his job as commissioner on Jan. 20.

His successor will be named by the new president, Barack Obama, who is considering candidates such as Baltimore's health commissioner, several prominent physicians, and former and current FDA officials.

Von Eschenbach, 67, was appointed by President Bush in 2005 as the FDA was reeling from widespread criticism about lax oversight of prescription drug safety. A cancer survivor himself, he was director of the National Cancer Institute before joining the FDA.

He has overseen a major increase in funding that Congress mandated for the drug safety office. He also directed the FDA's first steps to strengthen its role as an international regulator, opening three offices in China last month.

The FDA has continued to get criticism from Congress and consumer groups, most recently over its handling of a salmonella outbreak. But under von Eschenbach, tensions seem to have eased between the drug safety office and the much larger division that handles drug approvals. Lawmakers and consumer advocates, including critics, say they have found Eschenbach easy to work with.




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