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Joshua Sharfstein To Leave FDA, Serve As Md.'s Top Health Official

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By Courtney Collins

Maryland's Governor, Martin O'Malley, is announcing that the Food and Drug Administration's principal deputy commissioner will be the state's top health official.

Joshua Sharfstein, who previously served as Baltimore's health comissioner, will serve as secretary of Maryland's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

President Obama tapped Sharfstein in 2009 to join the FDA, in part to clean up the agency's image of being too close to the companies it regulates.

The pediatrician helped crack down on highly caffeinated alcoholic beverages such as Four Loko and expanded the agency's review of medical devices. That led to an FDA admission that outside lobbying influenced innapropriate approval of a knee repair device.

Sharfstein was asked to testify on the FDA's oversight of Johnson & Johnson. The company and the FDA have shared blame in a secret recall of defective painkillers.

He will replace John Colmers, who resigned as the state's top health official.

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