FDA: Henney Looks To Be First Choice As New Head
"[S]peculation" is placing Dr. Jane Henney as the "top candidate" to head the Food and Drug Administration, the Albuquerque Journal reports. According to sources at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, where Henney is vice president, "Henney believes she is the leading candidate for the job" (Jadrnak, 1/21). The Los Angeles Times reports that "Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala sought to make [interim commissioner Dr. Michael] Friedman's appointment permanent, a move rebuffed" by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA)," who is a strong supporter of Henney (Cimons, 1/22). Henney served as director of the University of Kansas Mid-America Cancer Center and later as vice chancellor for health programs and policy and interim dean at the university's medical school. Before coming to New Mexico, she worked under David Kessler at the FDA as deputy commissioner for operations.
There is speculation that Henney's tenure under Kessler "could hurt her confirmation chances among Senate Republicans, many of whom were angered by Kessler's aggressive, hands-on style" with respect to drug approvals, food labelling, and tobacco regulation (Times, 1/22). Linda Sudyam, an associate and supporter of Henney, said, "She is not David Kessler. She has her own philosophy and views about how issues at the FDA should be handled. ... I believe she can bring a greater scientific and technological advancement to the agency." The Albuquerque Journal reports that "no one seems to have a clue when Clinton will announce an appointee" (1/21).