The Senate has confirmed Stephen Hahn, MD to serve as FDA commissioner. The vote on Thursday was 72-18 in favor of his confirmation.
Some Democrats joined Republicans in supporting Hahn. Those crossing the aisle included Dick Durbin of Illinois; Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire; both Virginia senators, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine; and both Delaware senators, Chris Coons and Tom Carper.
The four Senate Democrats running for their party's presidential nomination—Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren—were recorded as not voting.
Hahn will succeed Scott Gottlieb, one of the most popular and high-profile commissioners ever. A practicing oncologist, Hahn has served as the chief medical executive at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He has also worked at the National Institutes of Health and the University of Pennsylvania,
“Dr. Hahn has extensive medical and research experience and is a proven leader in large health systems—all around,” said Senate health committee chair Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican. “He is exactly the type of nominee we want to lead an agency as important as the FDA.”
Alexander said that the committee received 16 letters of support for Dr. Hahn representing more than 80 organizations on behalf of doctors, patients, researchers, and his colleagues.
Hahn will have to tackle how to regulate vaping and e-cigarettes and ways to curb the opioid crisis.