United States Commissioner of Food and Drugs
Stephen Hahn MD.jpg
Stephen Hahn, MD

since December 17, 2019
Department of Health and Human Services
Food and Drug Administration
Reports toSecretary of Health and Human Services
Term lengthNo fixed term

The United States Commissioner of Food and Drugs is the head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The commissioner is appointed by the president of the United States with the advice and consent of the Senate. The commissioner reports to the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Due to frequent controversies involving the FDA, appointments are not always prompt and the agency is often headed by an acting commissioner. For example, Andrew von Eschenbach's appointment was held up by senators who objected to the FDA's refusal to allow emergency contraception to be sold over the counter.

The commissioner has frequently been a physician, but this is not a requirement for the post.

On November 5, 2019, President Trump nominated Stephen Hahn to be the next permanent Commissioner.[1][2] Dr. Hahn was sworn in on December 17, 2019.[3]

Controversies among Commissioners

On April 23, 2020, the 24th Commissioner of Food and Drugs, Stephen Hahn, was interviewed on CNN and appeared to defend statements made by President Trump on the same day claiming that light therapy or injection of disinfectant could treat or cure COVID-19. Hahn went on to clarify that individuals should defer to the expertise of their doctors.[4]

List of Commissioners

No. Name Portrait Took Office Left Office President served under Notable for
1 Harvey Washington Wiley, MD Portrait of Dr. Harvey W. Wiley.jpg January 1, 1907 March 15, 1912 Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft Chemist; advocacy of the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906; subsequent work at Good Housekeeping Institute laboratories
2 Carl L. Alsberg MD Carl L. Alsberg.gif December 16, 1912 July 15, 1921 William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding
3 Walter G. Campbell Walter G. Campbell.gif July 16, 1921 June 30, 1924 Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge
4 Charles Albert Browne Jr. PhD Charles Albert Browne Jr.gif July 1, 1924 June 30, 1927 Calvin Coolidge
3[5] Walter G. Campbell Walter G. Campbell.gif July 1, 1927 April 30, 1944 Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt
5 Paul B. Dunbar, PhD Paul B. Dunbar.gif May 6, 1944 May 31, 1951 Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman
6 Charles W. Crawford Charles W. Crawford.gif June 1, 1951 July 31, 1954 Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower
7 George P. Larrick George P. Larrick.gif August 12, 1954 December 27, 1965 Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson
8 James L. Goddard, MD James L. Goddard.gif January 17, 1966 July 1, 1968 Lyndon B. Johnson
9 Herbert L. Ley Jr., MD Herbert L. Ley Jr.gif July 1, 1968 December 12, 1969 Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon
10 Charles C. Edwards, MD Charles C. Edwards.jpg December 13, 1969 March 15, 1973 Richard Nixon
11 Alexander M. Schmidt, MD Alexander M. Schmidt.gif July 20, 1973 November 30, 1976 Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford
12 Donald Kennedy, PhD Donald Kennedy photo.png April 4, 1977 June 30, 1979 Jimmy Carter
13 Jere E. Goyan, PhD Jere E. Goyan.gif October 21, 1979 January 20, 1981 Jimmy Carter
14 Arthur H. Hayes Jr., MD Arthur H. Hayes Jr.gif April 13, 1981 September 11, 1983 Ronald Reagan
15 Frank E. Young, MD, PhD Frank Edward Young.jpg July 15, 1984 December 17, 1989 Ronald Reagan
16 David A. Kessler, MD DavidAaronKesslerApr2009.jpg November 8, 1990 February 28, 1997 George H. W. Bush

Bill Clinton

17 Jane E. Henney, MD Jane E. Henney.jpg January 17, 1999 January 19, 2001 Bill Clinton
18 Mark McClellan, MD, Ph.D MarkMcClellan.jpg November 14, 2002 March 26, 2004 George W. Bush
19 Lester Crawford, D.V.M., PhD Lester Crawford.jpg July 18, 2005 September 23, 2005 George W. Bush Charged with conflict of interest and lying about stock he and his wife owned in companies regulated by FDA.[6]
20 Andrew von Eschenbach, MD AVonEchenbach2.jpg December 13, 2006 January 20, 2009 George W. Bush Member of the board of directors of BioTime, a biotechnology and regenerative medicine company.
21 Margaret Hamburg, MD Margaret Hamburg official portrait.jpg May 22, 2009 April 1, 2015 Barack Obama
Stephen Ostroff, MD[7] Stephen Ostroff (13488260153).jpg April 1, 2015 February 22, 2016 Barack Obama
22 Robert Califf, MD Robert Califf.jpg February 22, 2016 January 20, 2017 Barack Obama
Stephen Ostroff, MD[7] Stephen Ostroff (13488260153).jpg January 20, 2017 May 11, 2017 Donald Trump
23 Scott Gottlieb, MD Scott Gottlieb official portrait.jpg May 11, 2017 April 5, 2019 Donald Trump
Norman Sharpless, MD Ned Sharpless official portrait (cropped).jpg April 5, 2019 November 1, 2019 Donald Trump
ADM Brett Giroir, MD ADM Brett P. Giroir, USPHS.jpg November 6, 2019[8][1] December 17, 2019 Donald Trump
24 Stephen Hahn, MD Stephen Hahn MD.jpg December 17, 2019 Present Donald Trump

See also


  1. ^ a b McGinley, Laurie (2019-11-01). "Trump announces plan to nominate Texas cancer doctor to run FDA". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2019-11-02.
  2. ^ "One Nomination Sent to the Senate". The White House. November 5, 2019. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  3. ^ Wang, Beth (December 17, 2019). "Hahn Officially Sworn In As FDA Chief On Dec. 17, Vows To Uphold Sound Data". Archived from the original on December 18, 2019. Retrieved December 18, 2019.
  4. ^ "Don't eat or inject yourself with disinfectant, warns FDA commissioner". CNN. Retrieved 2020-04-23.
  5. ^ Campbell had previously served as Commissioner
  6. ^ "Former F.D.A. Chief Is Charged With Conflict". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 Mar 2014.
  7. ^ a b "Meet Stephen Ostroff, MD, Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine". U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 9 February 2019. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  8. ^ ADM Brett P. Giroir, MD

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