Trump nominates Dr. Scott Gottlieb for FDA commissioner: 6 things to know

President Donald Trump on Friday selected Scott Gottlieb, MD, as his nominee to lead the Food and Drug Administration, reports STAT.

Here are six things to know.

1. Dr. Gottlieb is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C., and a partner in New Enterprise Associates, a large venture capital fund that invests in new companies focusing on health IT, medicine and life sciences, according to the report. Dr. Gottlieb is also a senior principal at the healthcare-focused merchant and investment bank TR Winston, and he serves as an advisor to major drug companies like GlaxoSmithKline, Cell Biotherapy and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

2. Dr. Gottlieb is well-known in Washington. He's has authored dozens of articles and speeches on healthcare regulation and testified before Congress numerous times, reports STAT. He's also served as a deputy commissioner for the FDA under former President George W. Bush.

3. If the Senate confirms him, Dr. Gottlieb would spearhead President Trump's plan to slash regulations at the FDA. Prior to his nomination, he told STAT his first goals in office would be to ensure the safety of the blood supply and get stricter on unsafe foods — an issue he thinks doesn't get enough attention. Dr. Gottlieb would also likely reduce restrictions on off-label marketing and streamline the FDA's generic drug program to accelerate the approval of more generics, according to the report.

4. Dr. Gottlieb beat out two Silicon Valley leaders for the nomination: Jim O'Neill, managing director at Mithril Capital Management, and Balaji Srinivasan, founder of a bitcoin startup company called 21.

5. Opponents of the nomination express concern that Dr. Gottlieb's relationships with drug companies and his investment history may present potential conflicts of interest.

"Scott Gottlieb's conflicts are much worse in that he's on the board of so many companies," Diana Zuckerman, president of the National Center for Health Research, a research advocacy group in Washington, D.C., told STAT. "He'd clearly need to divest his own stock and resign from the boards, and unless he swore on a stack of Bibles that he wouldn't return to boards, investments, etc., it would be a good example of the 'swamp' that Donald Trump promised to drain."

6. Other people see Dr. Gottlieb's ties to the pharmaceutical industry as an advantage.

"Scott is an exceptional choice for FDA commissioner," Paul Howard, senior fellow with the Manhattan Institute — a conservative think tank in New York City — told STAT. "He has led investments in new medicines and in new approaches in therapeutics. It's extraordinarily helpful for someone who is leading the agency at a time of tremendous technological change to have that kind of vision and experience."

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