Janet Woodcock Named Acting FDA Commissioner

Janet Woodcock, M.D., formerly head of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), was named Acting FDA Commissioner, effective January 20, 2021. She took over from Dr. Stephen Hahn, who served as the FDA Commissioner from 2019 to January 2021. She will serve on an interim basis until a permanent head is named.

Dr. Woodcock led the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research from 2007 until May 2020, when she became head of therapeutics for Operation Warp Speed, the US government initiative to speed up the development and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines, treatments, and diagnostics. From late 2020, she split her time advising Operation Warp Speed on advancing COVID-19 therapeutics while also serving as the Principal Medical Advisor to the Commissioner on key priorities on behalf of the Office of the Commissioner.

As Acting Commissioner, Dr. Woodcock oversees the FDA’s portfolio and execution of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and other applicable laws. This includes: assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices; the safety and security of the US food supply, cosmetics, and dietary supplements, and the regulation of tobacco products.

In a separate development, President Biden has nominated former California Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, as Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. The nomination is subject to confirmation by the US Senate.

Source: US Food and Drug Administration

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