Stephen Hahn Confirmed as New FDA Commissioner

The Senate voted 72-18 to support the successor to Scott Gottlieb, MD, following a November hearing which raised questions to his stance on proposed tobacco and e-cigarette policies.

The US Senate has approved the appointment of Stephen Hahn, MD, as the new US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner.

Hahn, who previously served as the Chief Medical Executive Officer of the MD Anderson Cancer Center, was confirmed in a 72-18 Senate vote Thursday, succeeding acting commissioner Admiral Brett Giroir, and previously-appointed commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD.

Hahn’s appointment comes a month following his Senate hearing, for which he made headlines for his non-committal stance toward continuing Gottlieb’s agenda of placing stricter regulations on electronic cigarette and vaping policies.

Despite the criticism, Hahn was appointed with a notably greater rate of Senate votes than Gottlieb had received in May 2017 (57-42), and according to STAT News, has accumulated the endorsement of 40-plus patient and research advocacy organizations.

Some legislators, including senate president pro tempore Chuck Grassley (R-IA), extended congratulations Thursday while still emphasizing the need for further e-cigarette and vaping regulation.

Congrats to Dr Stephen Hahn who will b next FDA commissioner Recently I met w Dr Hahn & we discussed my outstanding oversight issues w FDA & the need to keep vaping products out of the hands of teenagers Looking fwd to working 2gether

— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) December 12, 2019

Organizations including the American Heart Association (AHA) followed suit, releasing a statement congratulating Hahn and calling on him to collaborate on “aggressively advance public health priorities” in fields such as tobacco control and nutrition.

“We urge the administration to protect America’s children by moving forward with the plan announced in September to clear the market of flavored e-cigarettes, including mint and menthol,” the AHA statement read. “In addition, we urge the FDA to remove flavored cigars and menthol cigarettes, which also appeal to children.”