White House looks to foil FDA-chief debate

The word on leadership at FDA is solidifying: The Wall Street Journal confirms with its own sources that former New York health commissioner Margaret "Peggy" Hamburg will be tapped to top the agency, while Baltimore's point man on health, Joshua Sharfstein, will be named deputy. The two-pronged appointment is designed to paint the Obama FDA as a public health agency, the sources said.

By depicting Hamburg and Sharfstein as leaders who can direct the agency back to its original public-health mission, the administration may be able to sidestep a pro-industry/anti-industry debate over the appointments. As you know, advocates for the pharma industry have been lobbying Congress for their FDA picks, while consumer groups have been lobbying for theirs. Without a strategy to forestall the pro/anti debate, an FDA pick could get caught in the crossfire.

The Journal's unnamed sources are verifying what RPM Report unearthed Monday. But there's still no official word--or named person "familiar with the matter"--on Hamburg or Sharfstein. Here's hoping we get an announcement soon.

- read the WSJ story