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New FDA Head Must Divest Medical Stocks

Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, May 26, 2009 10:44 AM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: FDA, Conflict-of-Interest, Dr. Margaret Hamburg, Dr. Joshua Sharfstein

Dr. Margaret Hamburg must divest herself of some of her wealth which comes from medical companies.  

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IMAGE SOURCE: Time Magazine, profile of Hamburg

The woman named by the Obama administration to head the Food and Drug Administration will first have to unload some of her wealth that comes from medical companies.

Margaret Hamburg, 53, and her husband made about $10 million last year, mostly from her husband’s hedge-fund job with Renaissance Technologies where he is an expert in artificial intelligence.

The Wall Street Journal reports that following a review by the Government Ethics Office, Dr. Hamburg and her husband, Peter Fitzhugh Brown, will have to sell their interest in several Renaissance funds that have ties to the medical industry, which Dr. Hamburg will now oversee.

Their financial disclosure forms show the couple owns assets between $21 to $40 million, making her among the wealthiest of President Obama’s new appointments. 

Among the assets they must divest are Johnson & Johnson shares, stock in Abbott Laboratories, as well as Merck and pharmacy manager Medco Health Solutions. 

Hamburg will also divest herself a stock and options from Henry Schein, which distributes dental and medical supplies, including vaccines.  She sat on the board and will forfeit hundreds of thousands in stock and stock options. 

Dr. Hamburg will be making about $150,000 a year with the FDA. She was confirmed by the Senate last week.  

Dr. Joshua Sharfstein has also joined the FDA as deputy commissioner. Along with Dr. Hamburg they have the tall mission of rebuilding the agency that regulates about a quarter of everyday consumer products including food, drugs, and chemicals, on a budget that hasn’t risen in 20 years.

Dr. Hamburg, 53, is a physician and the former New York City health commissioner where she designed a program that reduced the city’s tuberculosis rate by 46 percent. Another program under her leadership, raised childhood immunizations to record levels.  

She has researched AIDS at the National Institutes of Health and worked in federal government as an assistant secretary at Health and Human Services.  She has double degrees from Harvard.  #


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