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BioCommunique Article

Stephen Hahn has emerged as the frontrunner to be nominated to head the FDA. He is the only finalist that has met with President Trump.

MD Anderson Oncologist Emerges as Frontrunner for FDA Commissioner

  • 2019-09-12T20:16:00.000+0000
  • Washington DC
  • Author: Brittany Blocker

Stephen Hahn, a radiation oncologist and chief medical executive at MD Anderson in Houston, emerges as the frontrunner to be nominated to head the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) within the next several weeks, pending completion of a successful background check. The Trump Administration must nominate a permanent commissioner by November 1. Hahn had been considered alongside acting FDA Commissioner Norman “Ned” Sharpless and Harvard professor Alexa Boer Kimball.

Former agency heads and dozens of health groups have urged the White House to nominate Sharpless to become the agency’s permanent commissioner. Four former FDA commissioners submitted a letter of support for Sharpless to President Trump and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar. A letter was also sent to the administration from more than 50 cancer organizations and other health groups to urge the administration to nominate Sharpless.

Hahn appears as the consensus choice within both HHS and the White House. He is the only finalist that has met with President Trump. The administration views Hahn’s leadership experience as crucial to running an agency responsible for a wide range of initiatives in food and drug safety, tobacco regulations and other areas. Other qualities that helped boost Hahn’s candidacy are that he has accepted relatively little money from the drug and medical device industries and is a long-time GOP donor.