Scott Gottlieb Confirmed as FDA Commissioner

A former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) deputy commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, MD, was confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 57-42 to be the next commissioner of the FDA.

On March 10, 2017, President Trump announced his intention to nominate Scott Gottlieb, MD, a conservative health policy expert as the potential next commissioner for the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Today, May 9, 2017, it was confirmed in the Senate by a vote of 57 to 42.

Dr. Gottlieb was a FDA deputy commissioner under former President George W. Bush and more recently, he served as a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, “a public policy think tank.” In addition, Dr. Gottlieb has ties with the pharmaceutical industry in that he is a board member for “several drug and biotech companies” and he also serves as an adviser to GlaxoSmithKline Plc, according to Reuters.

He was chosen to lead the FDA over Jim O’Neill, “a libertarian investor” and PayPal co-founder who currently advises President Trump on “technology and science matters.” The news source reports that one of O’Neill’s controversial views were that “drugs should be approved before being proven effective.”

“Thank God it’s Gottlieb,” Brian Skorney, an investment analyst at Robert W. Baird shared in a research note. “We view this as a favorable development for the sector.” John Taylor, a lawyer and president of compliance and regulatory affairs with the consulting firm Greenleaf Health and a former acting FDA deputy commissioner, expressed similar positive sentiments. “Scott knows how the agency works and he will move it forwards, though maybe not always in ways the agency is comfortable with.”

Individuals opposed to Dr. Gottlieb in this role feel that his “financial background” presents “an array of potential conflicts of interest.”

Regardless, Dr. Gottlieb will be tasked with carrying out President Trump’s plan “to dramatically cut regulations governing food, drugs, cosmetics, dietary supplements, and tobacco.” With Dr. Gottlieb comes change, which includes “moving the agency to increase flexibility in the clinical trial development process.”