Cancer Institute Director Chosen as Acting FDA Commissioner

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Cancer Institute Director Chosen as Acting FDA Commissioner

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SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Department of Health and Human Services tapped Norman Sharpless to take the lead at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Sharpless, the director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), will become acting commissioner at the FDA when the agency's current commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, leaves his post next month, according to The Washington Post.

Sharpless became the 15th director at NCI when he was sworn in on Oct. 17, 2017. Prior to his post, he served as director of the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, a position he held since January 2014, according to NCI.

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar announced Sharpless' appointment hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee's health subcommittee.

"We are going to be carrying forward Dr. Gottlieb's vision," Azar said. "His agenda is my agenda. My agenda is his agenda."

According to The Washington Post, a search for a permanent replacement to Gottlieb is underway, and it's possible Sharpless will be considered.

As a presidential appointee, he already has been extensively vetted and has divested himself of financial holdings that could pose conflicts of interest, the report added.

Gottlieb caught everyone by surprise when he resigned from the FDA on March 5, as Convenience Store News previously reported.

"All of us at HHS are proud of the remarkable work Commissioner Gottlieb has done at the FDA. He has been an exemplary public health leader, aggressive advocate American patients, and passionate promotor of innovation," Azar said in announcing Gottlieb's decision.

"Scott's leadership inspired historic results from the FDA team, which delivered record approvals of both innovative treatments and affordable generic drugs, while advancing important policies to confront opioid addiction, tobacco and youth e-cigarette use, chronic disease, and more. The public health of our country is better off for the work Scott and the entire FDA team have done over the last two years," he added.