0115 Woodcock Kessler Sharfstein
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Politics, Policy & Law

Woodcock’s appointment as acting FDA commissioner could be audition for permanent position

Woodcock will focus on COVID-19 response and restoring FDA’s strength as Biden decides if she, Joshua Sharfstein, or someone else should lead the agency

Woodcock will focus on COVID-19 response and restoring FDA’s strength as Biden decides if she, Joshua Sharfstein, or someone else should lead the agency.

Jan 16, 2021 | 2:13 AM GMT

When Janet Woodcock moves into the FDA commissioner’s office next week, she will take charge, at least on an acting basis, of an agency that has been pummeled for months. President Donald Trump’s attacks on FDA’s independence and credibility have sapped staff morale while ideologically motivated actions taken by HHS leadership threaten to undermine FDA’s ability to carry out critical tasks.

The agency, FDA staff and alumni told BioCentury, has been battered but not disabled.

On the other side of Washington, David Kessler, who had been in the running for FDA commissioner, will become scientific leader of a COVID-19 medical countermeasures program that has drawn criticism from President-elect Joe Biden. Biden has accused Operation Warp Speed of falling short on distribution and administration and neglecting the development of treatments.

In a speech Thursday, Biden called the vaccine rollout a “dismal failure.”

Woodcock will start in an acting capacity, with strong backing from biopharma executives and patient advocates who hope she will be given the job on a permanent basis.

The push to send Woodcock’s

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