Woodcock reportedly ruled out as FDA head

Aug. 20, 2021

President Biden’s administration has ruled out nominating Janet Woodcock as permanent head of the U.S. FDA, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The White House hasn’t publicly ruled out Woodcock. Woodcock is eligible to serve as acting commissioner until November 15th — unless Biden nominates someone else before then.

The 72-year old FDA veteran has served as acting commissioner since Biden took office. Woodcock, who has been at the FDA for 35 years, has faced strong opposition on Capitol Hill for the job. Yet it has seemingly been a two-person race between Woodcock and former principal deputy commissioner of FDA Josh Sharfstein, who’s now a vice dean and professor at Johns Hopkins. Six former FDA commissioners endorsed Woodcock in a letter to the Biden administration earlier this year, urging Biden to secure the agency’s leadership with a formal nomination.

The FDA has not commented on the matter.