Texas Oncologist Confirmed as FDA Chief

Senate votes 72 to 18 to confirm Dr. Stephen Hahn to the post.

December 16, 2019

WASHINGTON—Last week, Dr. Stephen Hahn was confirmed as the new head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the New York Times reports. Hahn will take charge at the regulatory agency that oversees products ranging from complex cancer drugs to food, cosmetics and tobacco.

As NACS Daily reported earlier this month, Hahn, 59, takes over as the FDA commissioner at a time when e-cigarettes and vaping products are mired in controversy. Other major challenges that Hahn will face include the opioid crisis and intermittent drug shortages.

Hahn’s predecessor Scott Gottlieb stepped down in April. Gottlieb was well regarded by public health advocates and won bipartisan support for his efforts to curb the underage use of flavored e-cigarettes. Ned Sharpless, who served as acting FDA commissioner following Gottlieb’s resignation, returned to his role as director of the National Cancer Institute in November.

Hahn, a radiation oncologist, has been with the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston since 2015, and observers believe his status as an outsider played a role in his nomination by President Donald Trump.