Dr. Norman “Ned” Sharpless, the current director of the National Cancer Insitute, has been named the acting commissioner of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
(1/3) Change is good, but bittersweet. It is difficult for me to say goodbye to @theNCI family as I head to @FDA to serve as acting commissioner. Rest assured that our shared goals for patients and the public’s health will translate into my new duties.
— NCI Director (@NCIDirector) March 12, 2019
Sharpless will take over the acting job in April following the resignation of Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who has served as FDA’s commissioner for nearly two years. While Sharpless’ career has been spent largely focus on cancer research, he will now oversee an agency which oversees the nation’s medical care, food supply and of course, tobacco.
His thoughts on cigars aren’t immediately known, but part of his research has included lung cancer.
When Gottlieb resigned, Sharpless specifically mentioned Gottlieb’s efforts on tobacco control.
Many believed that Sharpless was a top candidate to succeed Gottlieb, something that could still happen, though it is more likely someone else will be nominated to the role. It’s unclear how long Sharpless will serve. Typically those appointed to acting roles only serve for a short period of time, though some Trump appointments have had longer-than-normal roles as an acting head.
Typically, Sharpless’ appointment wouldn’t mean little in the way of major changes for cigar regulations. Most acting heads steer clear of major policy changes.
As an acting commissioner Sharpless does not need to be confirmed by the Senate, however a permanent successor will need Senate confirmation.
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