Thursday, November 06, 2008

Reading Tea Leaves: Obama's Appointments at FDA

Who will President Obama appoint to key positions at the Food and Drug Administration?

Eye on FDA describes the characteristics the new Commish should possess, but doesn't name names. That's useful -- but not much fun.

The most comprehensive handicapping that we've seen so far is over at the Wall Street Journal Health Blog, where the names of Dr. Steven Nissen (an outspoken cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic), Mike Taylor (a former Deputy FDA Commissioner under Clinton), Robert Califf (a Duke cardiologist), Mary Pendergast (a lawyer, not a physician), and Janet Woodcock (head of FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research) are bandied about.

The Health Blog is not the only place raising Nissen's name. Nissen also gets kicked around (kicked pretty ferociously in the "comments," actually) at Pharmalot (here) and high-profile plaintiff's lawyer Mark Lanier raises Nissen's name here.

In a separate post, Pharmalot identifies Bruce Psaty (a drug safety expert at the University of Washington), David Blumenthal (Harvard Medical School), and Susan Wood (former head of women's health at FDA) as possibilities.

UPDATE: Bloomberg says that Janet Woodcock is the pharmaceutical industry's preferred choice, and offers a couple of other possible candidates.

Finally, over at Legal Times, they speculate that Scott Lassman, of WilmerHale, would be a good choice for FDA Chief Counsel.

We'll watch with interest, of course. But we won't object if Obama names a Treasury Secretary and Secretary of Defense first and waits a little while on the FDA.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Most of this speculation is the uninformed recirculation of tired and uninspiring candidates by persons who have no inside information or knowledge. I will wager that not a one of the names mentioned even gets interviewed for the job. Speculation about FDA general counsel is even sillier. It is not considered a "bigtime" appointment.