The US Senate voted 57 to 42 on Tuesday to confirm Scott Gottlieb as FDA Commissioner. Gottlieb, who was nominated by US President Donald Trump for the position in March, has pledged to divest financial interests in more than a dozen companies and temporarily recuse himself from decisions involving at least 20 firms in which he held a financial stake or served as a consultant.
Gottlieb, who previously served as deputy commissioner of the agency under former President George W. Bush, has held a number of roles in the industry, including serving as a director or advisor for drugmakers including GlaxoSmithKline, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Vertex Pharmaceuticals. During nomination hearings, Democratic lawmakers questioned whether Gottlieb's ties to industry would affect his ability to independently lead the agency.
"He 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," remarked Senator Patty Murray, adding "I've grown increasingly concerned about whether he can lead the FDA in an unbiased way, given his unprecedented industry ties."
Gottlieb's appointment comes after Trump promised to streamline the process by which the FDA approves drugs, which he termed "slow and burdensome." The President has also called on drugmakers to take steps to lower drug prices.
For related analysis, read ViewPoints: Trump eschews unpredictability by tapping Gottlieb to head FDA.
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