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Friends of Cancer Research Statement Thanking Dr. Janet Woodcock for Service as Acting FDA Commissioner

Friends of Cancer Research Statement Thanking Dr. Janet Woodcock for Service as Acting FDA Commissioner

Friends of Cancer Research (Friends) would like to thank Dr. Janet Woodcock for serving as Acting Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is looking forward to working with Dr. Woodcock as Principal Deputy Commissioner of the Agency.

The FDA has significant work in the months ahead to navigate ongoing actions related to the pandemic response and advancement of public health, as well as several pending legislative initiatives by lawmakers, to which Dr. Woodcock’s leadership will no doubt play a critical role.

“Janet Woodcock has transformed patient outcomes and had a profound influence on patients suffering from life threatening disease over her storied career,” said Ellen Sigal, Chair & Founder of Friends of Cancer Research. “So often our work can get removed from those battling a disease. Dr. Woodcock has never lost sight of the Agency’s fundamental goal, to improve the health and safety of all.”

Dr. Woodcock has had numerous leadership posts at FDA and been the driving force of transformative programs such as the Sentinel Network to strengthen the nation’s drug safety surveillance capabilities, an overhaul to modernize product manufacturing and quality, and the Critical Path Initiative to advance the science of product development and regulation.  She played a pivotal role in Operation Warp Speed, quickly galvanizing the FDA and federal counterparts to accelerate the development and distribution of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics to combat COVID-19. Despite the pandemic, Dr. Woodcock ensured the Agency pushed forward new advancements in cancer and other diseases during the most trying time since its inception.

Dr. Woodcock is frequently seen describing FDA’s actions and articulating plans, including on Capitol Hill. As Congress considers new legislation such as pandemic preparedness and modernization of diagnostic test oversight, lawmakers are also embarking on reauthorization of the FDA User Fee programs which needs to be completed this Fall. “Dr. Woodcock’s willingness to engage in perennial straight talk with policymakers and the American public has enabled the scale of accomplishments under her leadership” said Ellen Sigal, “As Principal Deputy Commissioner she will be a critical asset to the success of new policies being considered by Congress.”

Dr. Woodcock has also been a long-time advocate for reform to the clinical trials system – including efforts to drive conduct of clinical trials in more community-based care settings.  Such efforts would substantially improve patient access to trials as part of their care.  Dr. Woodcock has previously led efforts to enhance the development of promising new medicines through her role in developing and implementing the Breakthrough Therapy Designation. This collaborative approach to fast tracking lifesaving therapies has transformed drug development and directly impacted patients.

“With humility and a deep level of humanity, Dr. Woodcock has solidified the respect of the FDA and its career scientists, Janet has shown her clear devotion to improving the lives of others even if it means standing in opposition to those in power” says Ellen Sigal.

Friends is incredibly grateful for Dr. Woodcock’s efforts on behalf of cancer patients. We look forward to continued collaboration and coordination to do what we all agree is our collective goal, improving patient outcomes.


About Friends of Cancer Research

Friends of Cancer Research (Friends) is working to accelerate policy change, support groundbreaking science, and deliver new therapies to patients quickly and safely. We unite scientists, pharmaceutical companies, and policy makers with shared trust and guide them toward meaningful cooperation. This collaboration among partners from every healthcare sector ultimately drives advances in science, policy, and regulation that speed life-saving treatments to patients. For more information, please visit