Should Kessler return to FDA?

Another day, another handful of potential healthcare and pharma watchdogs (not to mention a suggested to-do list). Apparently, the rumor that former Sen. Tom Daschle might take over at HHS was misguided; he's now said to be slated as the White House's own healthcare reform czar. Which raises the possibility--some might say fear--that HHS may be led by Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut. She's been a sometime critic of FDA and pharma, with a stated dislike of DTC ads, according to In Vivo. Plus, she decries shoddy foreign manufacturing and too-friendly relationships among industry and regulators.

As for FDA, here are some other names to put on that list of folks we're sure you're keeping:

  • Ezekiel Emanuel, brother to President-elect Obama's newly named chief of staff. He's now NIH's top bioethicist, and In Vivo says his vitae is a heavyweight. Whether he ends up at the FDA or not, he could wield some influence, even if only in an informal advisory role. He's big into conflict-of-interest issues, which of course have been in the news a lot lately.
  • Jerry Avorn, a Harvard pharmacoepidemiologist, could add expertise in drug safety and post-marketing surveillance to an agency that's trying to beef up its operations in those areas. Plus, as a Harvard man, he shares one diploma crest with Obama.
  • And then there's David Kessler. Yes, he's already done a tour of duty at the FDA, but some say he wants to get back into government. In Vivo likes the idea because it's been predicting a Kessler-like chief for the agency. And Kessler's at a bit of a crossroads; he recently left his post as Dean of the UCSF Medical School.

Meanwhile, Eye on FDA is advancing a top three list of priorities for the incoming FDA leadership: Develop a road map for implementation of FDAAA; spell out just what makes a successful Risk Evaluation and Management Strategy; and come up with guidance on online marketing. What are yours?

- read the In Vivo article
- check out the Eye on FDA to-do list