According to the Wall Street Journal, president Barack Obama has decided on Dr. Margaret "Peggy" Hamburg as the next commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, and Dr. Joshua Sharfstein as the next deputy FDA commissioner. No formal announcements have been made yet, but I assume that the WSJ has some pretty credible sources.
You can learn more about Dr. Hamburg from this interesting biography published by the National Library of Medicine. You can find out more about her extremely impressive credentials on the website of Henry Schein, a medical and dental equipment company where she serves on the Board of Directors. Hamburg is a public health maven, and has made a name for herself in designing a great tuberculosis control program in New York City and more recently in combating the threat of bioterrorism at the Nuclear Threat Initiative.
Joshua Sharfstein is currently head of the Baltimore Health Department, and is the son of Steve Sharfstein, a former progressive president of the American Psychiatric Association. You can read some background in a past WSJ blog posting here, where you can find links to a variety of interesting initiatives, such as his scrutiny of over-the-counter cold medicines for children. Like his father, Josh Sharfstein has a sharp eye out for drug industry improprieties--when he was a resident, he alerted the New England Journal of Medicine that Pfizer was inviting docs to a “rack ‘em up and toss ‘em down” event including billiards and lots of alcohol. He wrote that “attending such an event is unethical, according to the guidelines of the American Medical Association’s council on ethical and judicial affairs.”
From the Carlat perspective (honesty in medical education, putting patients ahead of profits), both of these appointments are excellent. I look forward to the next few years at the FDA!