POLITICO's Pulse Check

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb

Episode Summary

The FDA commissioner reflects on his two-year tenure, his legacy and unfinished business.

Episode Notes

Scott Gottlieb was nominated to run the FDA in March 2017. Two years — and nearly 500 press announcements — later, the productive and high-profile commissioner is preparing to step down in early April 2019.

Gottlieb joined POLITICO's Dan Diamond to discuss why he's leaving FDA (starts at 1:30), his regulatory and communications strategy (4:40), his work on medical device safety (10:30), digital health (16:30), opioid abuse (19:15), the Trump administration's approach to science and the choice of Ned Sharpless as acting FDA commissioner (24:25), what Gottlieb would've pursued if he had more time at FDA (26:30) and if he'll ever return to government (28:30).


As commissioner, Gottlieb has received bipartisan praise for his activist agenda.

Gottlieb's aggressive moves as commissioner came as a surprise, given his pre-Trump administration reputation as someone with a free-market background.

The conservative Washington Times cheered Gottlieb's departure, suggesting that he became "an avenging angel for the Nanny state" and pushed too much regulation on vaping.

Before rejoining FDA in 2017, Gottlieb was a frequent critic of its actions, such as in a 2010 AEI column where Gottlieb urged FDA to become more transparent on drug company letters.

Gottlieb steered numerous reforms at FDA, including pushing an overhaul of medical device reviews.

FDA recently approved a powerful painkiller called Dsuvia, drawing some criticism.

Gottlieb's January 2018 and November 2018 appearances on "Pulse Check."