Last week, President Obama also officially announced several appointments to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Former New York City health chief Margaret A. Hamburg is the new FDA commissioner. Baltimore Health Commissioner Joshua Sharfstein will be Hamburg’s deputy.
Obama also said he is forming a Food Safety Working Group to “upgrade our food safety laws for the 21st century.”
Hamburg, 53, is a physician and bioterrorism expert who served as an assistant health secretary during the Clinton administration. She is widely credited with helping to turn around a demoralized New York City health department and cutting rates of drug-resistant tuberculosis. Hamburg’s appointment requires Senate confirmation.
Sharfstein, 39, is a pediatrician who has served as Baltimore’s health commissioner and who worked as a health policy aide to Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), now chairman of the commerce committee. Sharfstein attracted national attention when he took on the drug industry and petitioned the FDA in 2007 to restrict the use of over-the-counter cough and cold medications for young children.