The Man Who May Be the Next FDA Commissioner: Brainstorm Health

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Hello and happy hump day, readers!

The rumor mill is churning on who may be the next Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner—and some of the early money is on Dr. Stephen Hahn, a renowned oncologist who serves as the chief medical executive at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, according to a report by STAT News.

MD Anderson was mum when responding to Fortune‘s request for comment on the issue (“We do not have information regarding Dr. Hahn’s nomination,” a spokesperson said in an emailed statement). But, if the reports are true, Hahn would be replacing another cancer specialist—Dr. Ned Sharpless, the current acting FDA chief and the former director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Sharpless was tapped for the interim position in March after the abrupt departure of former FDA commish Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who was largely seen as an ambitious agency head that pushed for faster drug approvals and a concerted crackdown on tobacco and vaping products.

If Hahn makes it through the vetting process and is ultimately nominated, it’s difficult to see him being voted down in the Senate. (An official nomination for a permanent commissioner has to be submitted by November 1.) It’s striking, though, that prominent public health officials—including Gottlieb himself—had called for Sharpless to be appointed to the position on a long-term basis. “Ned Sharpless is an outstanding physician and scientist who is deeply committed to public health goals and the mission of FDA and I hope to see him permanently nominated into that role,” wrote Gottlieb in a tweet last month.

But Hahn may well continue the efforts Gottlieb and Sharpless began—such as promoting faster drug approvals, especially in the cancer space, and dealing with the blowback from the e-cigarette and vaping industry scandals that have dogged the sector. We’ll find out soon enough.

Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee, @the_sy_guy,


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