Posted on March 3, 2021

By Krystal Redman, DrPH, Executive Director

We have an urgent action request for you: contact your legislators today and let them know you strongly oppose Dr. Janet Woodcock for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner.

The US FDA building sign with text that reads Take Action for strong FDA leadership

The FDA has granted more new drug approvals for breast cancer than for any other type of solid tumor, and the breast cancer community is far too familiar with the consequences of FDA leadership failing to protect our health. We know what happens when people living with breast cancer are exposed to expensive, experimental, and toxic treatments that are not ready to go to market or do not improve survival rates.

President Biden is expected to announce his nomination for a new FDA Commissioner at any moment. Dr. Janet Woodcock, the current acting Commissioner of the agency, is a potential candidate for the permanent role as head of the agency, and she is enthusiastically supported by many pharmaceutical companies. If she’s nominated, it will be difficult to stop her confirmation. We have to speak out and oppose Dr. Woodcock before her nomination, and here’s why:

  • She has a history of strong industry ties. This comes with accompanying conflicts of interest that interfere with her ability to prioritize patients and consumers.
  • She has been heavily criticized for her lack of oversight and regulation as the head of the agency’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER). In a recent letter to the Biden administration from Physicians for Social Responsibility and co-signed by 28 groups, the groups claim that as the head of CDER Dr. Woodcock was responsible for “one of the worst regulatory agency failures in U.S. history.”
  • She has allowed pharmaceutical companies to evade transparency as to the potential health harms of drugs under review and on the market, and she even pushed for approvals of opioids despite inadequate evidence of safety.

Dr. Woodcock’s track record suggests that if she were to lead the FDA, she would favor industry interests over public health, undermine scientific evidence regarding the safety and efficacy of breast cancer drugs, and put patients at risk.

That’s why it’s critical to act now to oppose her potential nomination.

As the watchdog of the breast cancer movement, we will continue to hold the FDA accountable, no matter who is at the helm. But by taking action now, before Dr. Woodcock’s nomination, we can help to ensure the next leader of the FDA is not a candidate who is well-known for putting industry interest over the health and safety of patients and consumers.