Who should Obama pick for FDA Commissioner?

It seems like everyone in the Pharma Blogosphere and the press is recommending who president-elect Barack Obama should nominate as the new FDA Commissioner to replace Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach.

A few weeks ago, I created the “Who Should Obama Nominate for FDA Commissioner?” online survey to determine who readers of Pharma Marketing News think should be the next FDA Commissioner. I received many interesting comments and decided to open the survey up to as many stakeholders as possible, including consumers, healthcare professionals, former FDA and other government officials, pharmaceutical employees, and others.

I hope readers of The Health Care Blog will also participate (see how below) and I thank Matthew for allowing me to make this post to THCB.

The following is a list of the candidates for FDA Commissioner included in the survey. I chose these based on several news reports and blog posts that suggested them as contenders. Survey respondents can also write in their choice if that person is not on the list.

  • Robert Califf, vice chancellor for clinical research and professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology at Duke.
  • Dora Hughes, Health Policy Advisor to Senator Barack Obama. More info…
  • David Kessler, former FDA Commissioner.
  • Steve Nissen, cardiologist at Cleveland Clinic.
  • Mary Pendergast, industry consultant who was a former associate FDA Commissioner under David Kessler. 
  • Peter Rost, former Pfizer VP of Marketing, now a blogger.
  • Joshua Sharfstein, commissioner of the Baltimore City Health Department.
  • Mike Taylor, former Deputy FDA Commissioner under Clinton
  • Susan Wood, the former head of women’s health at FDA, who resigned in protest after the delay in switching the morning-after pill over-the-counter.
  • Janet Woodcock, Center for Drug Evaluation & Research Director

To date, approximately 400 responses have been collected. The chart shown below gives the overall results from US respondents (approximately 88% of the total).Fdacommiss

Among US health care professional respondents, 55% of whom are somewhat or very supportive of the pharmaceutical industry, a plurality of 36.4% chose Steven Nissen and 20% chose Peter Rost. Woodcock, Wood, and Califf are tied for third place with each having 9% of that group’s vote.

I don’t have nearly enough input from health care professionals to definitively say that Nissen is the front runner. That is why your vote is so important.

Please take a few minutes to tell us who you think President-elect Obama should nominate as the new FDA Commissioner!

Take the survey here: http://tinyurl.com/5syxkp

Results of this survey will be summarized in the next issue of Pharma Marketing News, which will be published next week.

Your comments are confidential (anonymous) unless you specifically provide your contact information at the end of the survey and allow us to attribute comments to you personally.

John Mack is the publisher Pharma Marketing News and the Pharma Marketing Blog.

Categories: Uncategorized

Tagged as: , ,

8 replies »

  1. Rob Califf is the one. He is a patient advocate, a great leader, has a wealth of experience in both clinical and research arenas and has a brilliant mind. Obama has a great opportunity to choose a truly remarkable person in Califf.

  2. Haven’t we learned anything about foxes guarding chicken coops? Can an FDA commissioner really serve the patients when special interests are rampant without control? Imagine an FDA chief who first looks at patient needs, and when that is being challenged,remembers that patient needs are what is important.

  3. The new Commissioner should clean up the institutionalized corruption by working with the Congress to:
    1. Prohibit FDA regulators from receiving employments, consultant fees and other compensations from the drug or medical device manufacturers for 10 years after leaving FDA.
    2. Prohibit sponsors of new drug or medical device application or their representatives (lobbyists) from contacting any employees in the FDA after the application is submitted for consideration. In ancient China, examiners responsible for administering tests to select civil servants would be beheaded if found in contact with any examinees.
    Is anyone qualified?
    Sin Hang Lee

  4. None of the above.
    The FDA needs a top bottom cleaning of the administrative structure, but most of all the culture of the FDA needs to be more focused on the safety of the patient.
    What the FDA needs is for Congress and Lobbyiest to be prohibited from contact with anyone but the Commissioner of the FDA on any Medical Products or issues concerning patient care. Further we need a house cleaning of the CDC.
    Ray Ozmon

  5. It’s hard to imagine that the “Consumer, consumer advocate, patient, or other non-industry aligned member of the public” having much of a say in this when they only can muster (so far) 19% of responses. This is shown by the percentage of respondents (75%, including neutral) who are supportive of the pharmaceutical industry in general. I hope Obama’s promise of getting industry lobbyists out of absolute control of DC decisions will be honored. That’s why I voted for David Kessler.

  6. It is a sad illustration of how things have gone at the FDA over the past eight years that I think a lot of us would be satisfied with someone — anyone — from the evidence-based community.

  7. Hi John!
    I have comment about the list of prospective FDA commissioners. I can’t see a single person who is clearly a patient advocate.
    We have seen in the last few years the mess you can create at the FDA when its commissioners do not pay attention to the need of the patients. Since the patients are both the ultimate payers and the early victims of mistakes made at the FDA, why not add a strong patient advocate with a background in pharmacology to your list. Someone like Joe Graedon of the People’s pharmacy comes to mind, but I’m sure it should be easy to find many people who fit the bill.