Pharma industry thumbs up on FDA pick Gottlieb

Scott Gottlieb FDA deputy commissioner for policy speaks to reporters at the Reuters Health summit in New York in 2005

Scott Gottlieb FDA deputy commissioner for policy speaks to reporters at the Reuters Health summit in New York in 2005. Chip East Reuters

More recently, he has served as a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.

Scott Gottlieb, MD, is President Donald Trump's pick to head the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), according to several published media reports and a statement from the Senate health committee chairman.

A medical doctor, former FDA deputy commissioner and health policy expert, Gottlieb has the credentials to take over from previous commissioner Robert Califf, who stepped down from the post on January 20 after Trump's inauguration. "He is seen as a strong supporter of that industry and has championed deregulation". Gottlieb's experience also drew sharp criticism from consumer advocates who said he is too deeply tied to the industry.

The nominee served as deputy commissioner of the agency under President George W. Bush. Gottlieb is well versed in both the medical needs and the business end of the drug industry.

"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. He is now assistant professor at New York University School of Medicine.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., who serves on the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees FDA funding, said Gottlieb's nomination sends the message that Trump is committed to "rolling back regulations and opening the floodgates to potentially unsafe drugs and medical devices", reports AP.

Diana Zuckerman, PhD, president of the National Center for Health Research, stated that Trump could have made a worse decision. In fact, clinicians at the front lines caring for patients and populations affected by these diseases have for years been calling for balanced reforms that allow for novel products to come online faster-importantly, however, without comprising safety standards and while still keeping a watchful eye on the companies that manufacture them. 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".

The Senate is expected to schedule a hearing to discuss Gottlieb's nomination.

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