FDA Head Leaves

FDA Head Leaves

Lester Crawford, 67, has suddenly resigned as head of the FDA, saying that he was stepping aside because of his age. The new acting commissioner is Andrew von Eschenbach, a urological surgeon previously with the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and the National Cancer Institute.

His three-year tenure at FDA was marked by increasing criticism and a troubled past year. The painkiller Vioxx was pulled off the market for safety problems, and he indefinitely postponed non-prescription sales of emergency contra­ception over the objections of staff scientists who had declared the pill safe. The FDA’s women’s health chief resigned in protest.
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Dr. Crawford had been elevated by President Bush from acting commissioner partly because his experience was deemed important as the FDA tried to better safeguard the food supply against bioterrorism.