Ex-New York Health Commissioner Is F.D.A. Pick

March 12, 2009
The New York Times

WASHINGTON - President Obama intends to nominate Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, a former New York City health commissioner, to lead the Food and Drug Administration, sidestepping a battle between drug safety advocates and the drug industry, according to people briefed on the decision.

The administration is likely to announce the decision this week, these people said. Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, the health commissioner of Baltimore, who led the Obama administration's transition team for the F.D.A., will become Dr. Hamburg's chief deputy, these people said.

Jeffrey Levi, executive director of Trust for America's Health, a nonprofit public health organization, said Dr. Hamburg had revived a demoralized and cash-starved agency in New York and could do the same at the F.D.A., which faces similar problems.

"Right now," he said, "the F.D.A. needs a strong leader with a clear sense of mission who can fight for the resources that the agency needs and do it in a bipartisan manner."


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