Woodcock steps in at CDER as Galson departs

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To help it implement new FDA reform legislation signed into law in September, the Bush administration has shaken up the leadership of the agency's drug center, whose flounderings over product safety more than anything else provoked passage of the FDA Amendments Act.

Drug center director Steven Galson was elevated to acting surgeon general.

His predecessor, FDA deputy commissioner and chief medical officer Janet Woodcock, who held the post for over a decade until 2005, has returned to the position on a temporary basis.

Galson's tenure was characterized by major public turbulence on the subordination of drug safety reviews to new drug-approval reviews, which he tried to reverse, the Vioxx and David Graham whistleblower controversy, and the uproar over the Plan B emergency contraceptive OTC switch.
FDA commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach told his employees in an e-mail that a national search for a permanent director for the drug center will begin “immediately.”

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