Scott Gottlieb, a Familiar Face at the FDA, Could Return as Commissioner

President Trump has announced that Gottlieb, a conservative health policy analyst, is his pick to lead the agency.

Scott Gottlieb, a Familiar Face at the FDA, Could Return as Commissioner

Scott Gottlieb, a 44-year-old conservative health policy analyst and physician with long-standing ties to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has been nominated by President Trump to be the agency’s next commissioner.

Gottlieb served as deputy commissioner for medical and scientific affairs at the FDA under President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2007, and he was involved in the development of the agency’s generic drug user fee program and the Physician Labeling Rule. He is also a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, and a partner at New Enterprise Associates, a large venture capital firm.

If confirmed as the 23rd commissioner of the FDA, Gottlieb would replace cardiologist Robert Califf, MD, who tenured his resignation in January after just 10 months on the job. During confirmation hearings last year, Califf was the target of former presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who repeatedly questioned his ties to industry. Gottleib could be in for the same treatment. In a recent New York Times article, Michael Carome, MD, director of the health research group at Public Citizen, called Gottlieb “an industry shill” who “has spent most of his career dedicated to promoting the financial interests of pharmaceutical corporations.”

In one notable example of Gottlieb’s personal conflicts of interest, he was forced to recuse himself from national defense planning for bird flu while serving in his role at the FDA due to consulting work involving companies that manufactured products to fight the flu.

But Big Pharma appears to be impressed with Gottlieb’s nomination. In a statement, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) said his extensive experience as a physician and knowledge of healthcare will help the FDA continue to protect public health and innovation.

“We look forward to working with Dr. Gottlieb in his new role and engaging with him and the Agency as they seek to modernize the drug discovery and review process and advance competition in the biopharmaceutical market,” noted PhRMA president and CEO Stephen J. Ubl.

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