Scott Gottlieb is expected to be President Donald Trump’s pick for commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.
Gottlieb is a physician and health policy analyst who previously worked in the Food and Drug Administration under President George W. Bush and who has ties to the pharmaceutical industry. His nomination will have to be approved by the Senate.
Here’s everything you need to know about Scott Gottlieb, the possible next head of the Food and Drug Administration.
1. He Has Ties to the Pharmaceutical Industry & Received Over $400,000 in Consulting Fees Between 2013 and 2015
Scott Gottlieb is a partner at New Enterprise Associates, a venture capital firm with over $18 billion in assets.
In addition, he is a director at Tolero Pharmaceuticals and Daiichi Sankyo Inc., and is on the investment board of GlaxoSmithKline. Finally, he is a partner at T.R. Winston, a merchant bank with a focus on health care.
According to The Washington Post, Gottlieb received $413,000 in consulting and speaking fees from these pharmaceutical companies between 2013 and 2015.
“He is basically entangled in an unprecedented web of ties to big pharma,” Dr. Michael Carome, the director of the health research group at Public Citizen, told The New York Times. “He is someone who has been an industry shill and has spent most of his career dedicated to promoting the financial interests of pharmaceutical corporations.”
2. He Previously Worked at the Food & Drug Administration Under George W. Bush
If Gottlieb is confirmed, he will be returning to the government agency that he worked for during the administration of George W. Bush
From 2005 through 2007, Gottlieb was the deputy commissioner for medical and scientific affairs at the Food and Drug Administration. Before ascending to this position, he had worked as a senior advisor to the Food and Drug Administration’s commissioner.
Gottlieb’s ties to the pharmaceutical industry became a bit of an issue when he previously worked at the Food and Drug Administration. For instance, in 2005, he recused himself from the planning of the United States’ response to a bird flu epidemic because he had in the past done consulting work for companies whose products may be used to combat the bird flu, according to Boston.com.
Gottlieb said at the time that a ”reasonable person would question my impartiality” in matters related to the pharmaceutical companies that he has done consulting work for.
3. He Once Criticized Donald Trump’s Rhetoric About Drug Pricing
Scott Gottlieb has written a number of op-eds for outlets like The Washington Post and Forbes, and in one from 2016, he expressed some disagreement with Donald Trump.
This op-ed came amid the Republican presidential primaries, during which Donald Trump was talking about importing drugs from other countries that impose price controls as a way of circumventing costs. In Gottlieb’s piece for Forbes, he says that Trump’s plan is “perhaps good politics” but that it will “offer consumers little relief.”
He goes on to say that the real prices that consumers paid for prescription drugs has grown in recent years, but at a slower pace than usual. However, he says that these savings have not really been reaching the average person, and he points to Obamacare as a reason for this.
“Consumers are being forced into health plans that have very narrow and often ‘closed’ drug formularies,” he writes. “These insurance schemes often don’t provide any coverage for many important medicines. Where health plans cover a drug, consumers are getting stuck with rising co-pays and out-of-pocket costs. Obamacare has popularized these super skinny drug plans — not only in the health plans sold inside the Obamacare exchanges, but in employer-sponsored coverage as well. We have a growing ‘coverage gap’ when it comes to branded prescription drugs.”
He also says that Donald Trump’s idea of drug importation won’t work and that the drugs would actually end up being quite expensive.
“[U]nder any reasonable scheme, the importation would be confined to drugs from facilities that have already undergone FDA inspection, and produce foreign-approved versions of medicines already sold in the U.S,” he says. “But the branded firms own those facilities. They’re not going to simply ramp up the production lines to accommodate new demand, if it means that the drugs will be imported into the U.S. to skirt their tiered pricing. Nor will the foreign countries allow their local supply to be skimmed off, only to create local shortages of important medicines.”
In addition, he says that any drug importation plan like the one Trump was talking about would require a fair amount of regulatory oversight, and in the end it would add “so much cost to the imported drugs” that “they wouldn’t be much cheaper than drugs sold inside our closed American system.”
In April 2012, Gottlieb tweeted a link to an article criticizing Donald Trump’s comments on vaccines.
4. He Wants to Speed Up the Approval of Generic Drugs
In order to to bring down the cost of prescription drugs, Scott Gottlieb says that the Food and Drug Administration must work to speed up the approval process of generic drugs.
Gottlieb has said that he wants to overhaul the rules for complex generic drugs so that companies can not create “monopolies in perpetuity,” according to Bloomberg.
He is also in favor of faster drug approvals, criticizing the Food and Drug Administration for slowing the process down with its rules and regulations.
“This hunger for extreme certainty about how drugs work — born of an inability to trust doctors to do their jobs — is essential to understanding the FDA’s evolving approach to drug trials,” he wrote in a piece for National Affairs. “The agency’s concern is not chiefly that a new drug will go on to have some serious side effect that agency staff failed to discover before approval; the modern FDA is exceedingly good at unearthing common, and even remote, risks.”
5. He Married Allyson Brooke Nemeroff in 2004
According to The New York Times, Scott Gottlieb married Allyson Brooke Nemeroff in 2004.
At that time, Allyson Brooke Nemeroff was the the national advertising director for The New York Sun, a conservative newspaper. The wedding took place at the Women’s National Republican Club in Manhattan.
Gottlieb is originally from East Brunswick, New Jersey, and he currently lives in Westport, Connecticut.