Trump’s Pick for FDA Chief Has Drug and Biotech Industry Ties

Trump’s Pick for FDA Chief Has Drug and Biotech Industry Ties

President Trump’s pick for head of the FDA, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, has taken more than $400,000 from drug makers in the last few years alone, and Gottlieb has deep ties to the pharmaceutical industry. [1]

Gottlieb has testified multiple times on Capitol Hill concerning complex drug pricing issues, and is largely approved of by drug companies and pharmaceutical investors for FDA head. He’s on the boards of directors of several small drug and biotech companies, while also serving as an adviser to GlaxoSmithKline PLC. [2]

Brian Skorney, an investment analyst at Robert W. Baird, wrote in a research note:

“Thank God it’s Gottlieb. We view this as a favorable development for the sector.” [2]

Gottlieb is a former FDA deputy commissioner who has advocated further expediting the approval process for new medical products. He has spent the last decade as a partner at New Enterprise Associates, a large venture fund with investments in the life sciences, medical technology, and healthcare services.

These are just some of his links to the pharmaceutical industry.

Mizuho Securities USA Inc. conducted a survey of 53 pharmaceutical executives and found that 72% favored Gottlieb over other potential candidates.

Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen’s health research group and a physician, said in a statement:

“Gottlieb is entangled in an unprecedented web of Big Pharma ties. He has spent most of his career dedicated to promoting the financial interests of the pharmaceutical industry, and the U.S. Senate must reject him.” [3]

He warns:

“If the Senate does not reject Gottlieb, he will have to be recused from key decisions time and time again, otherwise there is no way to be sure he will put the public’s health over industry profits.”

The Money

Gottlieb has for years been the recipient of consulting fees from Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc., receiving about $40,000 in 2013, $50,000 in 2014, and $66,000 in 2015. Vertex and the FDA have been in discussions since early 2016 when the FDA denied approval for Kalydeco, a cystic fibrosis drug, for a certain genetic mutation. [1]

GlaxoSmithKline paid Gottlieb $60,000 in 2015 and $100,000 in 2014 in consulting fees. Gottlieb has served as a member of the drug maker’s product investment board for several years. He also received $50,000 in 2015 from Japanese drug company Daiichi Sankyo Inc., and $11,000 in 2013 and $50,000 in 2015 from Novo Nordisk.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. paid Gottlieb $9,000 in 2015 and about $1,000 from business unit Salix in 2014. Bristol-Myers Squibb gave him about $2,000 in 2014 and close to $10,000 in 2015.

Gottlieb also received smaller amounts from the following companies:

  • Pfizer
  • AstraZeneca
  • Baxter International
  • Baxter Healthcare
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • Takeda Pharmaceuticals
  • Millennium Pharmaceuticals
  • SI-Bone
  • Insys Therapeutics


[1] Market Watch

[2] Reuters

[3] The Hill

NBC News

Raw Story