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Dr. McClellan named by President Bush to head FDA; Senate approval expected.

After almost 20 months, the US Food and Drug Administration may finally be getting a new director.

President Bush nominated Mark McClellan, MD, a physician and economist who has been serving as a health policy advisor for the president, to the be the agency's administrator on September 25.

McClellan, who also worked on healthy policy issues in the Treasury Department during the Clinton administration, has a medical degree from Harvard University, a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and was a member of the National Cancer Policy Board of the National Academy of Sciences.

McClellan's specialty is health economics, and is considered an expert in the costs and benefits of new technologies, according to the Washington Post.

The FDA post has been one of the most difficult to fill. The president floated the names of at least 3 potential nominees over the past 14 months but all were rejected for different reasons. The agency has a budget of $1.6 billion, more than 10,000 employees, and has an influence over 20% of every dollar spent by US consumers.

Early indications are McClellan will find the road to confirmation easy sailing.

Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee that will act on the nomination, told the Washington Post that "Dr. McClellan has impressive credentials both as a physician and as an economist, and I look forward to learning more about is views on issues critical to the FDA."

Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, a conservative group that has been at odds with the administration and McClellan at times, said "Despite our disagreements, he has my utmost respect."

Chris Jennings, a health policy advisor for President Clinton who worked with McClellan said he "has strong views and a clear perspective, but he's not closed to other points of view. People who have worked with him are generally very well disposed to him," the Post reported.

Prior to McClellan's nomination, FDA Deputy Commissioner Lester Crawford announced that Amit Sachdev has been appointed FDA's senior associate commissioner for Legislative Affairs.

Sachdev, a lawyer, has served for the past 4 years as the Majority Counsel for the US House of Representative's Committee on Energy and Commerce. In his new office, he will oversee the Office of Legislative Affairs which serves as the FDA's liaison with the US Congress.
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Publication:Transplant News
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 27, 2002
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