The Trump administration on Tuesday said National Cancer Institute (NCI) Director Ned Sharpless will serve as acting chief of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) when current Commissioner Scott Gottlieb steps down.
Gottlieb abruptly announced his plans to step down last week, raising questions about whether the agency will pursue some of the ambitious proposals he introduced, including many aimed at curbing use of e-cigarettes among the nation's youth.
Gottlieb is expected to step down next month.
Azar said the process of searching for a permanent FDA commissioner is underway. He added that Douglas Lowy, currently deputy director of the NCI, will serve as the NCI's acting director.
“Dr. Sharpless is a valued colleague to FDA and is deeply committed to public health. He shares our mission and will be embraced warmly by the agency’s professional staff. Under his skilled leadership, I’m confident the transition will be seamless and the FDA will continue to secure its consumer protection role and advance policies to promote innovation and safety for families,” Gottlieb said in a statement.
Updated at 12:47 p.m.