Contribute Try STAT+ Today

WASHINGTON — Health secretary Alex Azar suddenly appointed a new top lawyer at the Food and Drug Administration just hours after the subagency had announced its own pick for the post.

The move is already raising concerns among FDA officials; two senior staffers at the agency told STAT they see it as another instance of HHS meddling in FDA policymaking — a criticism that has been raised repeatedly about the two agencies during the Covid-19 pandemic. But a senior HHS official said that the person who made the decision didn’t realize that Hahn had already announced a pick, and that the FDA had not voiced objections to the change.

Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free!

GET STARTED

What is it?

STAT+ is STAT's premium subscription service for in-depth biotech, pharma, policy, and life science coverage and analysis. Our award-winning team covers news on Wall Street, policy developments in Washington, early science breakthroughs and clinical trial results, and health care disruption in Silicon Valley and beyond.

What's included?

  • Daily reporting and analysis
  • The most comprehensive industry coverage from a powerhouse team of reporters
  • Subscriber-only newsletters
  • Daily newsletters to brief you on the most important industry news of the day
  • STAT+ Conversations
  • Weekly opportunities to engage with our reporters and leading industry experts in live video conversations
  • Exclusive industry events
  • Premium access to subscriber-only networking events around the country
  • The best reporters in the industry
  • The most trusted and well-connected newsroom in the health care industry
  • And much more
  • Exclusive interviews with industry leaders, profiles, and premium tools, like our CRISPR Trackr.