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Strong Leadership for the F.D.A.

March 17, 2009
by Editorial Staff
New York Times

President Obama has made two sterling choices to lead the embattled Food and Drug Administration. His nominees, both physicians, have the skills and experience to repair the damaged agency and restore its ability to protect American consumers.

Dr. Margaret Hamburg, the choice to be the agency's chief, won accolades as New York City's health commissioner during the 1990s for mounting a vigorous program against drug-resistant tuberculosis and persuading then-Mayor David Dinkins to support needle-exchange programs to slow the spread of AIDS among drug addicts.

She has also served in the Department of Health and Human Services under former President Bill Clinton, as a bioterrorism expert at the Nuclear Threat Initiative and as an official at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, where she aided the struggle to get AIDS drugs developed and approved.

Strong leadership is essential. But to keep American consumers safe, the F.D.A. will also need more authority and a large increase in financing from Congress.

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