FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg Announces She Will Step Down

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Margaret Hamburg announced on Feb. 5, 2015 that she will step down as FDA Commissioner after serving in the position for almost six years.


Margaret Hamburg announced on Feb. 5, 2015 that after almost six years in her role as FDA Commissioner, she will step down from the position at the end of March 2015. According to Reuters, Hamburg announced in a note to staff that her time as FDA chief “has been the most rewarding of my career."

Dr. Stephen Ostroff, FDA’s chief scientist, will take the role as acting commissioner until the position is filled. A potential successor to Hamburg, Robert Califf, MD, a cardiologist and researcher from Duke University, was named by FDA to oversee its drug, medical device, and tobacco policy at the end of January 2015.


Under Hamburg, FDA increased inspection stringency of food and drugs originating from overseas, increased patient engagement in the drug development process, and introduced various measures to speed the development and review of new drugs. In addition to improving existing policies, FDA approved 51 new therapies in 2014, the most in almost 20 years. As noted in the press release on Reuters, Hamburg wrote in a blog post on Feb. 4, 2015 that it is “a testament ... to FDA's innovative approaches to help expedite development and review of medical products that target unmet medical needs."

"Commissioner Hamburg, from day one, has been committed to being a champion for patients. She has fostered the growth of science and innovation across the agency and really changed how FDA and industry collaborate,” said Ellen Sigal, founder and chair of Friends of Cancer Research, in the Reuters announcement.