Trump will pick Stephen Hahn as his next FDA commissioner — reports
President Donald Trump will nominate MD Anderson executive Stephen Hahn to lead the FDA, multiple outlets are reporting.
The move breaks from a consensus among former FDA leaders and patient advocacy groups pushing the administration to stick with acting commissioner Ned Sharpless, the National Cancer Institute director who has helmed the FDA on an interim basis since Scott Gottlieb ended his energetic and widely admired 2-year stint in April.
Sharpless was Gottlieb’s hand-picked successor, with the former commish tweeting his support as late as a month ago when his man was still in the running. But it wasn’t enough. Politico Pro reported in the beginning of September that Hahn was a “clear frontrunner” who would become the nominee pending a successful background check. The vetting process is still ongoing.
Trump has until November 1 to formally make the nomination or name a new acting chief. Steve Usdin at BioCentury first reported the news.
Hahn, the chief medical officer at MD Anderson in Houston and a radiation oncologist by training, is a longtime Republican donor who has given to Mitt Romney, John McCain, and George W Bush, among others, but not Trump. Sharpless has exclusively contributed money to Democrats, including Barack Obama and a handful of Democrats running for congress in North Carolina.
If and when Hahn is confirmed by the Senate, he’d immediately face a swarm of questions on an entirely non-biopharma matter regarding the FDA’s role — or lack thereof — in regulating e-cigarettes following recent outbreak of vaping-induced lung injuries and deaths.