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WASHINGTON — President Biden will soon have to nominate someone to helm the Food and Drug Administration. His two top contenders couldn’t have more divergent visions for how to lead that agency.

His decision comes at a crucial moment for an agency that has been, at least at times, overlooked by past presidents: The FDA is still in the throes of the Covid-19 pandemic, and regulators are working around the clock to review the new application for what is likely to be the third Covid-19 vaccine authorized for use in the United States. Meanwhile, the agency is facing renewed criticism of its speed, and there are early signs that the FDA is beginning to review some of the questionable scientific decisions made under the tutelage of former Commissioner Stephen Hahn.


The top contenders for the job are Janet Woodcock, the agency’s longtime drug center director, and Josh Sharfstein, a vice dean at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health who served as the FDA’s second-in-command during the Obama administration, although additional candidates could emerge in the coming weeks.

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  • Dr. Woodcock disqualified herself with her horrible meddling, overruling the entire review hierarchy (including the AdComm), to single-handedly bow to public pressure and approve Exondys 51 (eteplirsen)

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