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ARTICLE | Regulation

Janet Woodcock redefined drug regulation, modernized FDA and opened its doors to patients

By Steve Usdin, Washington Editor

January 13, 2024 12:18 AM UTC

On Jan. 31, as she leaves her office for the last time as an FDA employee, Janet Woodcock will step away from an agency that she, more than anyone else, has shaped. Woodcock touched every facet of one of the most complex organizations in the federal government, pushing, prodding and in some cases bullying it to do better.  

As director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) for about half of a 37-year career, Woodcock redefined the mission of drug regulators, transforming them from brakes on biomedical progress into catalysts for change.