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| 06 September 2012 | By Alexander Gaffney, RAC
The UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will have a new chairman as of 1 January 2013, the agency has announced.
Professor Sir Gordon Duff will assume the position of chairman of MHRA on the first of the new year, replacing outgoing Chairman Sir Alasdair Breckenridge, whose term ends on 31 December 2012.
The transition is a significant one for MHRA, as Breckenridge has been chairman of the agency since its inception in April 2003. Prior to MHRA's formation, medicines regulation was divided between the Medicines Control Agency (MCA) and the Medical Devices Agency (MDA).
The transition also comes at a time when MHRA is preparing for, "Substantial additional responsibilities," explained Breckenridge. For example, MHRA will assume responsibility for the National Institute for Biological Standards and Controls and other agencies, giving it an, "Even wider range of activities," he added.
Still, the outgoing chairman expressed confidence in his successor. "I'm delighted that Sir Gordon [has] joined the MHRA as they bring a wealth of experience to our Board and will play a key role in the leadership of our changing organization," said Breckenridge in a statement.
Despite the challenges, Duff said he was ready to help guide the organization toward success.
"I'm delighted to be taking on the role of Chairman of the MHRA," said Duff. "The Agency is growing in responsibility and faces exciting challenges ahead. I look forward to helping the Agency move forward through these times and playing its vital role in improving and protecting public health."
The position of chairman is responsible for leading MHRA's Board of Directors, who provide strategic direction for the organization. MHRA's operational leadership, meanwhile, is vested in its chief executive officer (currently Kent Woods).
Duff will reportedly serve a four-year term in office, after which time it is unclear whether he will be eligible for a second term as chairman.
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