New FDA Head Selected by President

Jane Akre
March 14, 2017

Scott Gottlieb, M.D. Food Safety News

Mesh Medical Device News Desk, March 14, 2017 ~ According to the New York Times, Mr. Trump’s latest pick to head the FDA could undo decades of drug safeguards.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, M.D., 44, has ties to pharmaceutical and biotech companies and is a partner at a large venture capital fund, which funds medical startups.


Gottlieb is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C., where he researched the FDA and medical reform. The group believes in limited government and personal responsibility.

He is a clinical assistant professor at New York University school of Medicine. Gottlieb was the FDA’s deputy commissioner for medical and scientific affairs from 2005 to 2007.

Echoing Mr. Trump's push to bring major changes to the way the FDA does business, including accelerating the process of approving new prescription drugs, Dr. Gottlieb has written about the FDA’s “cumbersome drug approval process.”

“Dr. Gottlieb is someone who has an unprecedented web of financial ties and conflicts of interest to the pharmaceutical industry,” Dr. Michael Carome, director of the Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, told Vocativ.

At the FDA, Carome says Gottlieb often had to recuse himself from decisions. That no doubt would increase if he headed the FDA.

Writing for the American Enterprise Institute, Gottlieb has argued that speeding the drug approval process would slow the rising drug costs by promoting competition between manufacturers.

Dorothy Hamill in Vioxx ad


Mesh News Desk (MND) readers already know that 95% of medical devices get to market within about 90 days, so a fast-track clearance process is already in place for most medical device manufacturers.

Congress toughened the way drugs are approved after the Thalidomide crisis in the 1960. The drug was taken by women for nausea during pregnancy but led to severe birth defects. After that debacle the FDA tightened the safety of food and drugs, not medical devices.

Drugs that passed the FDA pre-market approval and clinical trials include the painkiller, Vioxx, which was the subject of intense litigation and a $4.8 billion settlement after at least 2,800 people lost their lives.

Mr. Trump also had Jim O’Neill on his short list to head the agency. O’Neill, a libertarian, used to work at Health and Human Services and has argued that drugs should be introduced into the market without clinical trials and let consumers test them. He is connected to a firm that is working on anti-aging research.

There is currently a presidential freeze on hiring at the FDA. Drug industry leaders tell the New York Times, if drug companies want faster and new kinds of clinical trials approved, they need to fill the estimated 1,000 staff vacancies so decisions can be made more quickly. ###

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