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  1. FDA Leadership: 1907 to Today

 Photo of Jere E. Goyan, Ph.D.

Jere E. Goyan, Ph.D.

10/21/1979 - 1/20/1981*

Jere E. Goyan was the first pharmacist to serve as Commissioner of Food and Drugs. Born in Oakland, California in 1927, he was educated at the University of California-San Francisco and the University of California-Berkeley, where he received his Ph. D. in pharmaceutical chemistry in 1957. From 1956 to 1963 he was on the faculty of the University of Michigan School of Pharmacy, and from 1963 to 1979 he was a faculty member at the University of California-San Francisco School of Pharmacy, where he also was dean since 1967. His principal area of research expertise concerned pharmacokinetics.

Patricia Harris, Secretary of HEW, named Goyan Commissioner of Food and Drugs, a position he served in from October 1979 to January 1981. Highlights during Goyan's tenure at FDA included the emerging link between toxic shock syndrome and the Rely tampon--and the agency's response, an attempt to make patient package inserts compulsory, and an investigation of widespread polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination of livestock and feed.

Goyan returned to his deanship at UCSF after Ronald Reagan was elected president, where he remained until his recent move to an executive position in the pharmaceutical industry. Among many other honors, Goyan received the Remington Medal from the American Pharmaceutical Association, numerous lectureships, and honorary degrees from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy, and other institutions. Goyan died in 2007.


*Mark Novitch, M.D., deputy commissioner from 1979 to 1985, acted as commissioner on two separate occasions, totaling approximately 13-1/2 months, between the tenures of Jere Goyan, Arthur Hayes, and Frank Young.

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