On March 12, 2019, the Trump administration named Mr. Ned Sharpless, director of the National Cancer Institute, to the position of Acting Commissioner of the FDA. The news, broken by Fox Business and reported by the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Hill, and others was confirmed by Health Secretary Alex Azar.
Sharpless, according to Azar, will be a “strong leader” for the FDA and that under Sharpless’ watch, “there will be no let-up in the agency’s focus,” namely around how food safety is handled and the rising teen nicotine problems.
The news is no surprise to industry officials and news organizations, seeing as Gottlieb himself noted that Sharpless plays on a basketball team with some of the FDA’s medical review board. His history with the organization goes a ways back, and he has interacted with the FDA on both personal levels, as stated before, and professional matters, such as G1 Therapeutics’ and HealthSpan Diagnostics’ dealings before the administration.
While his more medical establishment chops are well-known, not much has been reported on his stance on the natural products industry. However, with the commitment to furthering the causes the FDA pursued under Commissioner Gottlieb, the future seems at least a bit more certain.
We will, of course, continue to watch these developments and inform you of any changes or updates that affect our industry.