Senators question CDC director Fitzgerald about financial conflicts of interest

Brenda Fitzgerald, MD, who President Donald Trump appointed director of the CDC in July, has come under fire for her inability to sell off investments that pose potential conflicts of interest, according to The Washington Post.

Dr. Fitzgerald has divested from many personal financial holdings but is legally obligated to maintain her stake in certain investments involving cancer detection and health IT. Because of these holdings, Dr. Fitzgerald has to recuse herself from certain duties at the CDC involving these fields.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension committee, is now questioning whether Dr. Fitzgerald can competently complete her job at the CDC amidst these conflicts of interest.

"I am concerned that you cannot perform the role of CDC director while being largely recused from matters pertaining to cancer and opioids, two of the most pervasive and urgent health challenges we face as a country," Ms. Murray said, according to The Washington Post.

Dr. Fitzgerald said the conflicts of interest are limited to very few particular instances and argues she will be able to work on broad policy work in all fields. She and her husband are not able to divest their interests in the health tech company Greenway Health and the cancer biotech startup Isomunne because of contractual obligations.

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