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Reuters: Obama's FDA pick to come within days-spokesman

WASHINGTON, Jan 30 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama plans to announce soon his pick to head the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help create a new regulatory structure to protect the nation's food supply, the White House said on Friday.

"The president will have a new commissioner of the FDA in the coming days," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a press briefing.

The news comes amid a massive recall of hundreds of products containing bacteria-tainted peanuts that have sickened more than 500 people in at least 43 states.

New York Times - Medicare Widens Drugs It Accepts for Cancer

Medicare, with little public debate, has expanded its coverage of drugs for cancer treatments not approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Cancer doctors had clamored for the changes, saying that some of these treatments, known as off-label uses, were essential if patients were to receive the most up-to-date care. But for many such uses there is scant clinical evidence that the drugs are effective, despite costing as much as $10,000 a month. Because the drugs may represent a patient’s last hope, though, doctors are often willing to try them.

Wall Street Journal - CDC Insider Named Acting Director

The Obama administration has appointed an infectious disease and disaster preparedness expert as acting director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Richard Besser, who headed the CDC's public health emergency preparedness and response functions, succeeds Julie Gerberding, who stepped down with the change in administration after six years of leading the federal agency.

Wall Street Journal - CDC, FDA Set to Get New Leaders

The transition team for President-elect Barack Obama, hoping to make a swift break in Bush administration policies at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration, is moving toward naming new heads to two of the most important federal health agencies.

Julie Gerberding will step down as CDC director when Mr. Obama is sworn in next week, ending a controversial tenure of more than six years. She will be replaced by William Gimson III, the agency's chief operating officer, until a permanent successor is named.

New York Times - Daschle Pledges a Bipartisan Reform of Health Care System

Former Senator Tom Daschle pledged on Thursday to work with lawmakers of both parties in a grass roots, ideology-free campaign to revamp the nation’s struggling health care system. 

Boston Globe - The Great Promise of Personalized Medicine

A patient is diagnosed with non-small-cell lung cancer. A DNA test costing $1,000 reveals the subtype of his cancer. The test indicates that the most effective treatment will be an oral drug rather than chemotherapy.


Washington Post- Next NIH Director Faces Budget Issues

The director of the National Institutes of Health may be the least political of a president's political appointments.

Boston Globe - America Needs a Strong FDA

As President-Elect Barack Obama focuses on selecting leaders for his administration, a top priority should be to rebuild the Food and Drug Administration


Washington Post - Ailing FDA May Need Major Reconstructing

The Obama administration will inherit a Food and Drug Administration widely seen as struggling to protect Americans from unsafe medication, contaminated food and a flood of questionable imports from China and other countries.

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