It could have been worse -- President Obama could have assigned the top spot at the Food and Drug Administration to Steven Nissen, killer of GlaxoSmithKline's (NYSE:GSK) Avandia, with his meta-analysis and critique of Merck's (NYSE:MRK) and Schering-Plough's (NYSE:SGP) Zetia.

Instead, it went to Margaret Hamburg. While she's no foe to the industry as far as I can tell, the pick seems to signify that the president is interested in the agency turning its focus toward protecting American's health -- she was previously the New York City health chief. After the tainted peanut butter outbreak, I can see why the president might find that a popular theme, but it's not likely to help health care investors.

Fortunately, as data parsed by fellow Fool Brian Lawler showed, the FDA chief doesn't have a large effect on the number of truly new drugs that enter the market. The commissioner might affect the approval of individual controversial drugs like Barr's -- now Teva Pharmaceuticals' (NASDAQ:TEVA) -- emergency contraception drug, Plan-B, but that's a relatively rare occurrence. The individual heads of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) and Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) probably have more of a direct effect on the speed of drug approvals, as well as what drugs are approved.

Still, it would have been nice to get a head honcho that would light a fire under the drug reviewers -- we're still waiting for a decision about Eli Lilly's (NYSE:LLY) prasugrel, after all, nine months after its original PDUFA date -- but that doesn't look to be the case. Instead, investors look like they're going to get stuck with the status quo.

Or should I say s-t-a-a-t-u-u-s s-l-l-o-o-o-o-w-w.

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Fool contributor Brian Orelli, Ph.D., doesn't own shares of any company mentioned in this article. GlaxoSmithKline is a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation. The Fool has a disclosure policy.