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Momentum Slow Down?

Some health advocates are concerned that the departure of Scott Gottlieb, the commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, will stall efforts he has backed, the Washington Post reports.

Gottlieb, who announced earlier this week that he would be stepping down from his position, has pushed for eliminating menthol in cigarettes, increased regulation of e- cigarettes, addressing the opioid crisis, and regulating the stem cell industry.

"I'm definitely concerned," Joshua Sharfstein, who was principal deputy FDA commissioner during the Obama administration, tells the Post.

There's also worry, the Post adds, about whether or not Gottlieb's position will be permanently filled after he departs. It notes that President Donald Trump has said that he is in "no hurry" to replace Cabinet members who have departed and that officials with "acting" status have greater flexibility.

Still, the Post reports that a few names have been bandied about as potential replacements, including Ned Sharpless, the National Cancer Institute director; Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services; and Amy Abernethy, principal deputy commissioner at FDA.