The U.S. Senate on Thursday confirmed Dr. Stephen Hahn, chief medical executive at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, as the next commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.
Hahn, who is a radiation oncologist, had a fairly smooth confirmation process. The White House announced President Donald Trump's intent to nominate him on Nov. 1 and he was confirmed less than six weeks later on a bipartisan 72-19 vote.
HHS Secretary Alex Azar called Hahn a "superbly qualified leader," and touted the bipartisan support for Hahn's confirmation.
"Having a confirmed FDA commissioner of Dr. Hahn's caliber will be a major boost to the already rapid pace of the president's aggressive public health agenda," Azar said in a statement.
During a committee vote on Hahn's confirmation, Senate health committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said she was skeptical of Hahn's lack of government experience, but her no vote was solidified when during his confirmation hearing Hahn refused to commit to taking non-tobacco flavored e-cigarettes that have not undergone FDA review off the market. President Donald Trump said he wanted to ban all flavored vapes in early September, but has since backed off the idea.
Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), another member of the Senate health committee, said she opposed Hahn's confirmation because she said he would not commit to "put science ahead of politics and corporate special interests."
During his confirmation hearing, Hahn committed to work with lawmakers to combat drug shortages and high prescription drug prices.
The current acting commissioner of the FDA is Dr. Brett Giroir.