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May 10, 2017

Senate Confirms Gottlieb as FDA Head

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    Scott Gottlieb, M.D., the new commissioner of the FDA.

    The U.S. Senate has confirmed President Trump appointed of Scott Gottlieb, M.D., as the new commissioner of the FDA on Tuesday. The vote on was 57­­ to 42.

    Dr. Gottlieb, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (a conservative think tank), has been criticized for his close ties to healthcare companies and 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."

    Dr. Gottlieb has served on the advisory board of large pharmaceutical companies, including GlaxoSmithKline and Takeda. He also served as deputy FDA commissioner under President George W. Bush.

    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.

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