It’s official. Stephen Hahn is the next commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. Hahn was confirmed by the Senate in a 72-18 vote on Thursday.
He comes to the FDA from academia, where he was chief medical executive at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He is also a practicing oncologist.
Hahn takes over the FDA after six months of interim leadership by Ned Sharpless, head of the National Cancer Institute. Sharpless took over in May when Scott Gottlieb stepped down as FDA commissioner.
The FDA is grappling with several big issues, including teen vaping, the vaping-related lung illness and drug prices. Hahn was noncommittal on many of these issues, particularly vaping, during his confirmation hearing at the end of November.
Some experts expected his confirmation vote to drag out as Washington was dominated by impeachment hearings and the federal budget, but the process moved fairly quickly. He was nominated in early November.