As Obama solidifies his teams on science, education, and environment, attention — and not a little worry from the drug industry — is turning toward his hunt for a new FDA commissioner. The WSJ Health Blog reports that the FDA Commissioner Coalition, which is heavy with groups financed by the drug industry, appears increasingly concerned that Obama will appoint outspoken critics of drugmakers and the FDA, such as Cleveland Clinic cardiologist Steven Nissen or Baltimore health commissioner Joshua Sharfstein, who is heading Obama’s FDA assessment team.
While the coalition prominently talks about the need for an FDA chief who can withstand some kinds of outside pressure, there’s no mention of an ability to withstand pressure from industry. Yet undue industry influence is at the heart of concerns from both parties in both houses of Congress, from FDA officials, from doctors and many medical researchers.
A copy of the Coalition’s letter (to Secretary of Health Designate Tom Daschle) can be found at Pharmalot.