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(January 17, 2001)


January 17, 2001


The Honorable Tommy Thompson
Secretary-Designate, Department of Health
and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Hubert H. Humphrey Bldg.
Washington, D.C. 20201

Dear Governor Thompson:

As the transition process for your Administration goes forward, we want to introduce you and your new staff to the Cancer Leadership Council, a patient-oriented forum for national cancer advocacy. Our membership includes virtually every major nationwide organization dedicated to quality cancer care and continued research advances in cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment. We look forward to working with your Administration on a variety of issues that affect people with cancer, their families and their caregivers.

Among the issues of concern to our organizations is the review and approval of new drugs and other products by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As the gatekeeper for the introduction and continued availability of potentially life-saving medical products, FDA is of critical importance to people with cancer and other serious and life-threatening diseases. It is for that reason that we want to bring to your attention an outstanding candidate for FDA Commissioner, Dr. Richard Pazdur.

Our enthusiasm for Dr. Pazdur is based not only on his impressive record as an academic cancer researcher but also on our substantial experience with him since he assumed the leadership of FDA's Oncology Drug Products Division approximately a year ago. In that relatively short period of time, Dr. Pazdur has distinguished himself in his willingness to engage in meaningful and productive dialogue with a wide range of patient, physician and even industry representatives. FDA has frequently been a lightening rod for criticism from practically the entire spectrum of interests affected by its regulatory reach, but we believe Dr. Pazdur has the personal and intellectual skills to undertake the challenging assignment of leading this often controversial agency. We are convinced that he would consider and respond sensitively and intelligently to the competing needs of the diverse constituencies who are subject to, or influenced by, FDA's exercise of its very broad jurisdiction.

Enclosed is an abbreviated version of Dr. Pazdur's very lengthy and detailed curriculum vitae that we prepared in order to convey concisely his qualifications for the job of FDA Commissioner. We feel that Dr. Pazdur's qualifications meet or exceed those of any Commissioner during the past two decades or more.

With all the challenges it faces, FDA is in desperate need of leadership that commands the respect of patients, physicians, researchers and industry alike. If he were selected, Dr. Pazdur's experience as a well-known cancer researcher who has frequently collaborated with both the National Institutes of Health and private sector interests would make him uniquely qualified to lead FDA at a time when so many novel therapies are coming under the agency's scrutiny.

Cancer Leadership Council

Alliance for Lung Cancer Advocacy, Support, and Education
American Society of Clinical Oncology
Association of American Cancer Institutes
Cancer Care, Inc.
Cancer Research Foundation of America
The Children's Cause, Inc.

Coalition of National Cancer Cooperative Groups
Colorectal Cancer Network
Cure For Lymphoma Foundation
International Myeloma Foundation
Kidney Cancer Association
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation
National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship
National Patient Advocate Foundation
National Prostate Cancer Coalition
North American Brain Tumor Coalition
Oncology Nursing Society
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
US TOO! International, Inc.

The Wellness Community
Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization


Contact: Ellen Stovall, Executive Director
National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship
1010 Wayne Avenue - 7th Floor
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910
Phone: 301/650-9127
Fax: 301/565-9670

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