After serving as Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner for two months, Lester Crawford on Friday announced his resignation. Crawford, who served as acting commissioner for more than a year prior to being confirmed, wrote in his resignation letter that “it is time at the age of 67 to step aside.” Christina Pearson, a spokesperson for Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt, would not answer questions from reporters about whether the Bush Administration had asked Crawford to resign, saying she could not comment on “a personnel issue,” according to the New York Times.
Susan Wood, director of the FDA’s Office on Women’s Health, had just resigned several weeks ago in protest over the FDA placing politics above medical science in its decision making process on over-the-counter status for emergency contraception (EC). Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Patty Murray (D-WA) had blocked Crawford’s confirmation until Leavitt agreed to take action on EC by September 1, but then a week before the deadline Crawford and Leavitt double-crossed the Senators and announced another delay on EC.
Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach, director of the National Cancer Institute, will serve as interim FDA commissioner.