Friday Frontline: March 15, 2019

Norman “Ned” Sharpless, M.D., director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), will serve as acting Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner starting in April, 2019, according to an announcement from Alex M. Azar III, the secretary of health and human services. The announcement was made a week after Scott Gottlieb, M.D., stated his resignation as head of the FDA, effective next month.

Sharpless, a physician and scientist, joined NCI in October 2017, after serving as the head of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of North Carolina. An enthusiastic supporter of Gottlieb’s policies, Sharpless will likely pick up where Gottlieb leaves off in his efforts to curb youth tobacco and e-cigarette usage. While it is not yet established whether Sharpless will lead the FDA long-term, he was considered the “likely pick” to replace Gottlieb. Sharpless is already well acquainted with the agency, Gottlieb said in a

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