A Vanderbilt University pharmacologist who had been considered by the White House for the top job at the US Food and Drug Administration has been told he is no longer in the running.
The White House told Dr Alastair Wood that he "is no longer a candidate" to be President George W. Bush's nominee for FDA commissioner, Vanderbilt spokesman Clinton Colmenares said. He said officials gave no reason.
A White House spokeswoman had no comment.
Wood, who has researched how patients react to medicines differently, had called for more scrutiny of drugs' safety. As a member of an FDA advisory panel, he also voted that three prescription allergy drugs were safe enough to be sold over the counter, a switch the drugs' makers opposed. Drug companies typically make lower profits when drugs go over the counter.
"There was some dissatisfaction in the industry" with Wood's positions, said Dr Sidney Wolfe, head of Public Citizen's Health Research Group, a watchdog group.
Wolfe said it was "unfortunate" that Wood was out of consideration. "He had an appropriately critical and constructive view of what needed to be done at the FDA," Wolfe said.
Another name mentioned in recent weeks as a possible candidate is Dr David Sundwall, president of the American Clinical Laboratory Association. Sundwall could not immediately be reached for comment.
The FDA has been without a permanent commissioner for more than a year. The agency regulates more than $1 trillion worth of products, including pharmaceuticals, most foods, medical devices and cosmetics.