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WASHINGTON — Food and Drug Administration stalwart Janet Woodcock will temporarily step aside as the director of the agency’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research to work solely on a White House initiative meant to accelerate Covid-19 treatments, Commissioner Stephen Hahn announced Friday in an agency-wide email obtained by STAT.

The news is monumental for the FDA: Woodcock has served as the permanent director of CDER for more than a decade, since 2008. She joined the FDA in 1986 and is widely considered the most experienced regulator at the agency. Her cache has often rivaled that of the FDA commissioner, who technically serves as her boss.

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