FDA Commissioner Hamburg Stepping Down

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After nearly 6 years overseeing public health initiatives, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, MD, will be stepping down.

After nearly 6 years overseeing public health initiatives, Margaret Hamburg, MD, commissioner of the FDA will be stepping down, according to various sources.

Reuters is reporting that Dr. Hamburg’s resignation will be announced on Friday, although as of right now a new commissioner has not been named. Until then, Stephen Ostroff, MD, the FDA’s chief scientist, will fill the position.

The Wall Street Journal conjectured that Robert Califf, MD, from Duke University, who was recently appointed as FDA deputy commissioner for medical products and tobacco, will likely become the next FDA commissioner.

On January 27, when Dr. Califf’s appointment was announced, experts began speculating that he was part of an FDA succession plan because he would quickly be confirmed.

“Dr. Califf’s deep knowledge and experience in the areas of medicine and clinical research will enable the agency to capitalize on, and improve upon, the significant advances we’ve made in medical product development and regulation over the last few years,” Dr. Hamburg had said in a statement upon Dr. Califf’s appointment.

Dr. Hamburg is one of the longest-serving FDA commissioners. During her time as commissioner, she relaxed age restrictions on the Plan B contraceptive and faced the challenge of hundreds of deaths caused by compounded drugs mixed at a local pharmacy.

Under her leadership, the FDA also introduced measures to speed the development and review of new drugs and the agency gained regulatory authority over tobacco products.

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