Gottlieb as FDA Head Draws Mixed Reviews

Gottlieb reportedly has financial ties to pharmaceutical companies that would be seen as conflicts of interest during the confirmation process, according to Reuters. Gottlieb already has experience with FDA from previous senior positions he has held within the Administration, such as a FDA Deputy Commissioner for Medical and Scientific Affairs during the George W. Bush administration, and as a senior policy advisor at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. More recently, he has served as a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.

"Scott Gottlieb is entangled in an unprecedented web of Big Pharma ties", says Michael Carome, director of the Public Citizen's Health Research Group, an advocacy group.

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.

"When Gottlieb served as FDA deputy commissioner, he was recused from many key meetings and decisions due to his close relationship with industry", it asserts.

On the other hand, Gottlieb's medical background and experience at FDA and CMS could bode well for FDA and industry.

The President's choice still has to win the backing of the Senate, and the confirmation process will kick off with a hearing in front of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee, now controlled by Republicans. Although the response to the pick from political pundits in the press has thus far been far from uniform, most seem to agree that Dr. Gottlieb is a "conservative" choice-in every sense of the term.

Gottlieb graduated from Mount Sinai School of Medicine and also studied Economics at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. 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.

What does his appointment mean for the agency's dual mission of protecting and promoting public health?

However, not everyone is keen about Gottlieb's nomination reports NPR.

  • Lila Blake