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Editorial: Joshua Sharfstein

The federal government’s loss was Maryland’s gain as Gov. Martin O’Malley enticed Joshua Sharfstein to leave the Food and Drug Administration’s No. 2 post and join O’Malley’s cabinet as state secretary of health and mental hygiene.

The move reunites the two, who worked together in Baltimore with great effectiveness when then-mayor O’Malley hired Mr. Sharfstein as city health commissioner.

Mr. Sharfstein, who joined the FDA in 2009, is credited with strengthening regulation of marketing and manufacturing by pharmaceutical and medical device makers. But the prospect of battles with the Republican-controlled House of Representatives over regulatory authority left him open to return to Maryland.

Maryland is fortunate to find such a worthy successor to John Colmers, an able and highly qualified cabinet member who led the state health department with vision and professionalism. Under Mr. Sharfstein, the state should not lose a step as it prepares for the impact of federal health care reform and myriad other issues dealing with quality and delivery of health care.