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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.

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