The top spot at the US Food and Drug Administration — a key role in the pandemic response — remains vacant as President Joe Biden takes office, Politico reports.
Stephen Hahn resigned as FDA commissioner with the change of power and Janet Woodcock is now serving as the acting commissioner, according to the New York Times.
The Biden Administration has not yet nominated a permanent FDA commissioner, and Politico reports that the Biden team has debated who should take on the role for months and that Xavier Becerra, who has been nominated to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, wants a say in the matter. It adds, though, that Woodcock is under consideration, as are Josh Sharfstein, who served as deputy commissioner at FDA during the Obama Administration, and Amy Abernethy, the current principal deputy commissioner.
Steve Grossman, deputy executive director of the Alliance for a Stronger FDA, notes that previous administrations have held off on nominating a permanent FDA head for a few months, but Politico adds that the pandemic has put a spotlight on the agency.
"Sooner is better," Mark McClellan, FDA commissioner during the Bush Administration tells Politico. "Sooner is especially better in a public health emergency. We're not done with this pandemic by any means."