Ex-pharma exec takes FDA post

July 20, 2011

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has named a former drug company executive to the new position of deputy commissioner for medical products and tobacco, the online Wall Street Journal reports.

Washington - The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has named a former drug company executive to the new position of deputy commissioner for medical products and tobacco, the online Wall Street Journal reports.

Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., appointed Stephen P. Spielberg, M.D., to the post as part of a reorganization at the top of the FDA. A pediatrician and pharmacologist, Dr. Spielberg has been an executive with both Johnson & Johnson and Merck, and was chairman of the pediatric task force of PhRMA, the drug industry's trade association. Most recently he served as director of personalized medicine at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., and as dean of Dartmouth Medical School.

Dr. Spielberg will oversee the bulk of the FDA’s operations, including the centers for drugs, medical devices and biological products, as well as the relatively new tobacco center.

Dr. Hamburg also promoted Deborah M. Autor, an attorney serving as director of the drug center’s compliance office, to deputy commissioner for global regulatory operations and policy. FDA officials have testified in recent congressional hearings that they lack the manpower to adequately inspect overseas facilities.