business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal reports that when Barack Obama is sworn in as president of the United States next Tuesday, it is expected to take less than three weeks for a new head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be named.

At the same time, the Journal writes, Julie Gerberding will step down as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “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.”

If the new administration seems to have a priority for the two health-related posts, it seems to have been stated by the nominee for secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, former Sen. Tom Daschle, who told a Senate panel during his confirmation hearings, "I want to take ideology and politics as much as humanly possible out of the process and leave the scientists to do their job."

KC's View:
I would suggest that just letting scientists do their jobs may not be enough. The systems have to be speedy, efficient, effective and transparent. The protections have to be there for the consumer, not industry. (Which, by the way, ultimately will be best for industry.) And, perhaps most importantly, there has to be a mechanism in place to explain health-related decisions to the nation in a way that makes sense.