Friday, December 5, 2008
A top House Democrat is asking President-elect Barack Obama to avoid naming any current officials of Food and Drug Administration to lead the agency, even temporarily, reflecting a divergence of views on Capitol Hill on how to fix the FDA's problems.
Congressional aides said Democratic officials have discussed naming Janet Woodcock, a longtime FDA official, as interim head after the expected departure of the current commissioner, Andrew von Eschenbach, a George W. Bush appointee. People close to the pharmaceutical industry also have been floating Dr. Woodcock's name as either interim or permanent FDA chief.
But Rep. Bart Stupak, a Michigan Democrat who holds a key post on the House committee that oversees the FDA, is seeking to forestall that choice. In a letter Wednesday to Mr. Obama, Rep. Stupak wrote, "I would encourage you not to appoint any current senior FDA employee as Commissioner or Interim Commissioner of the FDA."