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Trump Announces Intent to Nominate Stephen Hahn, MD, as New FDA Commissioner

Until Hahn's position is confirmed, Brett Giroir, MD, of the Department of Health and Human Services, will serve as acting FDA Commissioner.

Stephen Hahn, MD

President Donald Trump has announced his intent to appoint Stephen Hahn, MD, as the next commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), according to a White House statement.

Hahn is the chief medical executive at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, and a professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

The president is required to appoint a permanent replacement or a new interim commissioner by November 1. Hahn will fill the vacancy left by Scott Gottlieb, MD, who stepped away from his role as commissioner in April, and take over the role currently held by acting FDA commissioner Norman Sharpless, MD.

Hahn’s appointment, which would first need to be approved by the US Senate, would appear to be the Texas-based doctor’s first entrance into the public arena in decades.

Hahn began to emerge as a frontrunner for the position in September, after reports he had met with Trump about the job. In the past, Hahn has served as the chairman of the radiation oncology department at the University of Pennsylvania and as a Commander at the National Cancer Institute, part of the United States Public Health Service.

According to reports from the Washington Post, Sharpless will immediately return to his previous role as the director of the National Cancer Institute. Until Hahn's position is confirmed, Brett Giroir, MD, of the Department of Health and Human Services, will serve as acting FDA Commissioner. Meanwhile, Gottlieb, who announced his resignation in March and stepped away from office in April, now sits on the board of Pfizer and Aetion Inc.

Once confirmed, Hahn will join an exclusive club as he becomes the FDA’s 24th commissioner and face lofty challenges as the administration attempts to navigate through issues including a historic fight against e-cigarette use in American youths, the growing opioid epidemic, and reports of mysterious vaping illnesses.

Reports from the Washington Post and New York Times noted Hahn has a history of donating to political parties. Specifically, Hahn donated $1000 to the New Pioneers PAC, a Republican committee, in 2017 and for donating smaller denominations to Mitt Romney in 2012 and Rep. John Murtha in 2008.

While Sharpless’s term as acting commissioner expires on November 1, he is expected to maintain the role until Hahn’s appointment is confirmed by the Senate, which could take several weeks or months.

*Editor’s note: This is a breaking news story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

The article titled "Stephen Hahn, MD, Expected to be Named FDA Commissioner" originally appeared on MDMag.com.