Dr. Scott Gottlieb to CNBC: I'm surprised it took tech so long to get into healthcare

Julie Spitzer - Print  | 

In a conversation with CNBC's Christina Farr, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, said many healthcare industries are ripe for disruption from big technology companies like Amazon.

Dr. Gottlieb, a former venture capitalist, physician and cancer survivor, told Ms. Farr some of the goals his has for his tenure at the FDA include speeding up the approvals process, bringing down the cost of prescription drugs and seeking avenues to curb the nation's opioid crisis.

Here are three insights from his interview with CNBC.

1. When asked whether he was surprised big technology companies — like Apple and Alphabet — are just now emerging as players in the healthcare space, Dr. Gottlieb said he was shocked they hadn't made the leap sooner. "Frankly, I think health is such a big opportunity that I'm surprised it took them so long to take a concerted interest in it. If you think about where people allocate resources and tend to spend time thinking about getting access to information and making decisions and purchasing consumer products to meet goals, it's a big market. I'm pleased to see the interest and see a big, untapped opportunity for more consumer facing tools," he told CNBC.

2. Dr. Gottlieb defined digital health as "software applications, mostly digital tools and medical apps." He added that he sees a lot of venture capital activity in the medical device and biopharma sectors — the two most heavily regulated healthcare industries. "I think venture capitalists have gotten comfortable with regulators as a feature of healthcare products. As regulators, to the extent that we can, we try to provide transparent, clear guidance that helps reduce uncertainty and risk," he said.

3. In response to an increasing number of data breaches affecting patient records and devices, Dr. Gottlieb noted the agency released a cybersecurity guidance and many medical devices now include a cybersecurity assessment. "[T]his is something we're really closely looking at. We want more transparency and information-sharing from industry about vulnerabilities across the board," he told CNBC.

Click here to read Dr. Gottlieb's full interview with Ms. Farr.

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