Scott Gottlieb, M.D., was confirmed as the new commissioner of the FDA late Tuesday, by U.S. Senate by a vote of 57 to 42. He also served as deputy FDA commissioner under President George W. Bush.
Trump appointee Dr. Gottlieb, is a resident fellow at conservative think tank the American Enterprise Institute, and has been criticized for his close ties to healthcare companies, including advisory board positions with GlaxoSmithKline and Takeda. Becuase of this he has promised to recuse himself from decisions involving those businesses for his first year.
“[Dr. Gottlieb] has not convinced me he can withstand political pressure from this administration, or that he will be truly committed to putting our families’ health first,” Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) said during the debate before Tuesday’s vote. “I’ve grown increasingly concerned about whether he can lead the FDA in an unbiased way, given his unprecedented industry ties.”
But while many politicians are concerned over his ties to the pharmaceutical industry, the industry itself welcomes his appointment.
“Gottlieb is someone who the industry and investors view as an incremental positive,” said RBC Capital Markets analyst Michael Yee. “The industry and investors need rational scientific logic and an understanding of risks and benefits.”
His first two jobs as FDA commissioner will be to put in place the 21st Century Cures Act (which is designed to speed up drug approvals) and to address the growing opioid addiction in this country.