Health groups praise new FDA commissioner

December 12, 2019

Stephen Hahn is confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Health groups praised the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of Stephen Hahn, MD, as FDA commissioner.

While several healthcare groups and former FDA commissioners had urged President Donald Trump to nominate Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless, they are supportive of the Senate’s decision.

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“We appreciate the US Senate working in a bipartisan fashion to confirm the nomination of Dr. Hahn as the next FDA Commissioner. Through his public testimony and willingness to meet with stakeholders from the public health community, in addition to his extensive experience as an oncologist, Dr. Hahn has made it clear he is well-positioned to lead the FDA forward,” said Lisa Lacasse, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), in a statement.

During the Senate confirmation hearings, Hahn showed that he has a “strong focus on advancing innovation, improving public health, and doing what is right by patients,” said Friends of Cancer Research in a statement.

Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, told The Washington Post that a primary political challenge for Hahn will be the increasing congressional pressure for FDA to create “an immediate path for CBD or cannabidiol to be added to food products.”

Related: Trump considers next FDA commissioner

One of the most sensitive issues facing Hahn involves Trump’s vow to allow states and others to import cheaper prescription drugs from Canada, The Washington Post said.

Robert Califf, FDA commissioner during the Obama administration, told the newspaper that key issues facing Hahn include the ongoing opioid epidemic and declines in life expectancy caused in part by chronic disease, suicide, and depression.

Friends of Cancer Research plans to work with FDA on developing a framework for “cutting-edge, individualized” technologies such as cell therapies and gene therapies, ensuring the accuracy of drug labels over time; and, and setting the groundwork for the upcoming re-authorization of FDA user fees programs.”

Read more: HHS names FDA acting chief as Gottlieb resignation sparks worries