HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Monday, May 18, 2009

Dr. Margaret Hamburg Confirmed as FDA Commissioner

The Associated Press reports that the Senate confirmed Dr. Margaret Hamburg to be the new Food and Drug Administration commissioner and states, . 

Images The Senate on Monday confirmed President Barack Obama's pick to oversee food and drug safety, two areas that are vital to consumers and widely seen as in critical need of improvement.  Dr. Margaret Hamburg, a bioterrorism expert, will be sworn in as the 21st commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration and only the second woman to hold the post in 100 years of agency history. The Senate confirmed her nomination by voice vote. Her first priority will be to help direct development of a vaccine for the new swine flu. She says she also wants to revamp food safety. . . .

Hamburg, 53, told senators at her confirmation hearing that she wants to restore public confidence in the agency by putting science first and running an open and accountable operation.  As an assistant health secretary under President Bill Clinton, Hamburg helped lay the groundwork for the government's bioterrorism and flu pandemic preparations. Before that, she ran the New York City health department. Her tenure saw improvement in childhood vaccinations, a reduction in the number of new HIV cases, and praise for the way the agency helped contain an epidemic of drug-resistant tuberculosis.  On food safety, Hamburg says she wants to shift from chasing outbreaks after they have broken out to preventing them in the first place. But that will require sustained effort, more money and stronger laws. . . .

DailyKos has a great overview of both Dr. Hamburg and the FDA here.

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