Bush Unlikely To Name Von Eschenbach as Permanent FDA Commissioner
President Bush likely will not name acting FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach permanent agency commissioner, HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said on Tuesday, the Washington Post reports (Washington Post , 10/5). Bush named von Eschenbach acting FDA commissioner after former agency Commissioner Lester Crawford resigned last month. On Friday, von Eschenbach said that he will take a temporary leave of absence as director of the National Cancer Institute to address conflict-of-interest concerns (California Healthline, 10/3).
Leavitt said that von Eschenbach likely will resume his position at NCI after Bush names a permanent commissioner (Washington Times, 10/5). Von Eschenbach "is acting commissioner, and I suspect that will be his status until we fill it permanently," Leavitt said (Washington Post , 10/5).
The Bush administration "owes the public an explanation" for the Crawford resignation, a Post editorial states.
According to the editorial, without an explanation, "installing a permanent successor will be extraordinarily difficult: It is impossible to make a judgment about who should run the FDA until the administration's intentions toward the agency are better known."
The editorial states that "it is bad politics to leave this important agency leaderless," adding, "It is even worse to leave the FDA leaderless without explaining why" (Washington Post , 10/5).