Drugs and technology What's Buzzing

New FDA chief has ties to the pharmaceutical industry

Written by Diane Archer

The nation’s new head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Dr. Scott Gottlieb, is a 44-year-old physician, cancer survivor, and a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, with financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry. His ties to the pharmaceutical industry are a big concern for consumer advocates.

What can we expect from Dr. Gottlieb? He has said that he wants to focus his energies on opioid overdoses, from which 91 Americans die every day. But, he has little ability to address this issue since the FDA cannot keep doctors from prescribing opioids.

He has also argued that the FDA needs to give patients access to drugs more quickly through a process called “conditional approval.” This process would allow people to get drugs that had proved safe in Phase 1 trials only. Health care expert, Shannon Brownlee, sees these approvals as undermining patient safety. As it is, nearly one in three drugs that make it through Phase III clinical trials and are approved have been found to be safety risks to patients.

Gottlieb suggests that he wants to see a speedier FDA approval process of generic drugs as a way to bring down drug prices. But, that requires adequate FDA staff, and President Trump has proposed steep budget cuts to administrative agencies. Gottlieb also wants to change the FDA rules for approval of generic biologics.  Today, the FDA rules make it difficult to approve generic versions of costly biologics, which treat cancer and autoimmune diseases, keeping their prices sky high.

Gottlieb does not support Trump’s proposal to allow the importation of drugs from Canada and other countries as a way to bring down drug prices. He claims it won’t work.

Here’s more from Just Care:



  • I think the “opioid crisis” is a Trojan Horse formerly called the “War on Drugs”. Or, to put it another way, exactly what opioids are causing those 91 deaths? This is just another tactic to deflect our attention from all the money that is being passed under the table by the pharmaceutical industry while they continue to raise prices. Our taxes pay for a lot of medical research, then big pharma turns around and charges exorbitant prices with the excuse that they have high research expense. If big pharma was prevented from paying off elected officials, from advertising high priced and ineffective or dangerous drugs, and from paying “sales reps” big bucks to push questionable products and uses we should see the prices plummet. I don’t expect it in my lifetime because so many members of congress are on the take from the pharmaceuticals.

  • Yes, what’s important are the profits of pharmaceutical companies. Americans are expendable. They should make Congress be the guinea pigs for these drugs.

Leave a Comment

Read previous post:
Pre-hospice care allows people to stay in their homes

An article in Kaiser Health News describes the value of pre-hospice care for people with a multitude of health conditions who...