Due to frequent controversies involving the FDA, appointments are not always prompt and the agency is often headed by an acting commissioner. For example, the Andrew von Eschenbach's appointment was held up by senators who objected to the FDA's refusal to allow over the counter status to the controversial Plan B emergency contraception.
The commissioner has frequently been a physician, but this is not a requirement for the post.
FDA Commissioner's Position Remains Empty; Since Bush's Inauguration, Partisan Politics and Industry Demands Have Delayed Appointment
Jul 15, 2002; The Food and Drug Administration regulates almost a quarter of the nation's economy, makes life-and-death decisions about which...