President Bush has nominated Andrew von Eschenbach as permanent FDA commissioner.
Von Eschenbach, 64, has served as acting FDA commissioner since Sept. 2005, when previous commissioner Lester Crawford abruptly resigned after two months on the job. Von Eschenbach is a urolic surgeon who, before coming to government, served as EVP of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas in Houston. He also serves as the director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Although von Eschenbach appointed a deputy to assume daily control of the NCI before coming to the FDA, it is likely he would have to give up his job there if the Senate approves his nomination.
Following von Eschenbach’s nomination, PhRMA CEO Billy Tauzin said, “By nominating a permanent FDA commissioner, the president is protecting the health and safety of Americans. A commissioner nominated by the president, and confirmed by Congress, speaks with greater authority about the resources needed by the FDA to carry out its vital mission. A confirmed agency chief can also focus more on long-term programs and needs as well as strategic planning. That is good for FDA stability and the morale of its employees, and good for patients.”