Trump’s FDA director pick approved

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 President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Scott Gottlieb, was approved by the Senate on Tuesday.

“As a practicing physician with a wealth of policy experience, Dr. Gottlieb has the necessary qualifications to lead the FDA at this critical time,” said Republican Senator Mitch McConnell (Ky.), the Senate Majority Leader.

Gottlieb was confirmed in a 57-42 vote. He replaces Robert Califf, the acting FDA chief under President Barack Obama. Gottlieb was once the FDA director and deputy commissioner under former President George W. Bush.

FDA“Not only has he worked in hospitals, interacted directly with those affected by disease and treatment, but he also has developed and analyzed medical policies in both the public and private sectors,” added McConnell, speaking from the senate floor.

Since leaving the FDA, Gottlieb has been investing in or consulting with healthcare companies, raising red flags with Democrats who had concerns about his financial ties to the industries he’ll be regulating. Gottlieb has committed to breaking those ties before taking over the agency, and he agreed to recuse himself from any decisions regarding health companies he has worked with, for a period of one year. This includes GlaxoSmithKline and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

While Democrats were concerned about Gottlieb’s work within the industry, Republicans like Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee chairman Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) see it as an asset.

Gottlieb has vowed to make the opioid epidemic the FDA’s top priority, as he feels it’s “the biggest crisis facing the agency.” Also on his list of priorities is streamlining approvals for generic drugs, and looking at Obama regulations like those for electronic cigarettes, restaurant calorie counts on menus, and  genetically engineered animals.

Gottlieb is also under pressure to address the tobacco industry. The FDA has the authority to regulate all tobacco products, including cigars and e-cigarettes, and the industry wants him to roll back regulations.  Gottlieb has not indicated how he will address the issue.

H/T: The Hill

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