Quite a few eyebrows were raised in 2003, when Andrew von Eschenbach, director of the US National Cancer Institute (NCI), announced that the goal of the Institute would be to “eliminate suffering and death due to cancer” by 2015. Critics scoffed, calling the goal “unrealistic”, and they scolded him for “cruelly” raising false hopes among thousands of cancer patients and their families.
Eschenbach got his M.D. from Georgetown Medical School and became a surgeon, so he wasn't a dumb guy. After serving as director of the National Cancer Institute, he headed the FDA from 2006-09. He now runs some kind of consultant company, which probably pays well.
It's shocking to see such a smart, well-credentialed person making a prediction that fell on its face so hard.