Trump’s FDA Pick Grilled on Priorities, Conflicts

Jane Akre
April 6, 2017

Mesh Medical Device News Desk, April 6, 2017 ~ President Trumps selection of Scott Gottlieb reveals a health industry insider full of potential conflicts.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb was grilled during a confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill Wednesday and said his first priorities will include the opioid crisis.

Gottlieb is a medical doctor who turned to health consulting for the very industries he would regulate. It is the potential for financial conflicts-of-interest that a Senate health committee must reveal.

The nominee is on the receiving end of thousands of dollars from companies involved in health care. He also receives income from venture capital firms and investment bank involved in funding health care companies, according to the NY Daily News.

If confirmed, Gottlieb says he will recuse himself from decision involving GlaxoSmithKline and about 20 other companies. He would also have to resign his position on the board or as a consultant to nine other health care related companies.

Science will prevail at the agency with him at the head Gottlieb told Senators. As a cancer survivor, he says he understands the important role the FDA plays in public health.

Gottlieb stressed the importance of bringing new products to market, which is the constant criticism by industry of the agency, versus making sure good science guides the FDA in its decision making.

Opioid addiction could be addressed by finding non-addictive alternative painkillers, Gottlieb said.

Gottlieb, 44, was a deputy commission previously under the presidency of George W. Bush.

He currently is a fellow at the American Enterprise Insitute, a conservative nonprofit, from which he would resign. He is a frequent contributor of op-ed articles favoring drug and medical device firms.

Washington Sen. Patty Murphy

But Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, the committee's senior Democrat, questioned whether recusals are enough to erase the bias of being a pharmaceutical industry insider when dozens of drugs being developed by those companies could come before the FDA.

“I want to earn the public’s trust,” Gottlieb reportedly said.

In other conversations Gottlieb voiced his disagreement with President Trump’s suggestion that vaccines may be linked to autism saying it’s been exhaustively studied and there is no causal link. He said he is committed to tobacco control particularly in adolescents and e-cigarettes.

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