The FDA is handing back the reins to the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research to Janet Woodcock (photo), who had formerly headed the division for 10 years. The FDA described it as a "lateral move" for Woodcock, who will hang up her title as Deputy Commissioner for scientific and medical programs. CDER is a key part of the FDA. Its researchers are charged with evaluating the safety and efficacy of drugs, a role that has achieved heightened significance following a string of controversies over therapeutics that contained hidden threats.
Woodcock, 59, is a familiar face at the FDA. She has been at the agency for 21 years and she has been acting director at CDER for the past year. The new/old job puts her squarely in the spotlights as the FDA deals with Congressional probes and a new mandate to beef up staff as the agency grapples with new powers.