March 10, 2006

Andrew von Eschenbach, the FDA's acting commissioner, will soon be nominated to take over the job permanently, according to several industry sources who applauded the move as a step toward reforming the FDA's drug-safety and approval programs.

Von Eschenbach, who has served as acting commissioner since late September 2005, will likely be nominated within the next few days, Peter Pitts, director of the Center for Medicines in the Public Interest and a former FDA official, told FDAnews. Other industry sources confirmed that prediction.

The FDA did not confirm the rumor. "The White House will announce the nomination of FDA commissioner. In the meantime, Dr. von Eschenbach continues to lead the agency's efforts to protect and promote the public's health as acting commissioner of the FDA," said agency spokeswoman Susan Bro.

Von Eschenbach is the right choice to ensure the agency continues to reform its drug-safety and drug-approval policies, industry sources said. The consensus among industry observers is that von Eschenbach is an experienced and respected administrator who has already been vetted by lawmakers. Von Eschenbach is the best choice as commissioner because "he's already Senate confirmed has done a good job so far" and wants to "drive [the agency] toward change, which it requires," Pitts said. ()a href="http://www.fdanews.com/ddl" target=_blank>