Not quite two years into his stewardship of the FDA, Scott Gottlieb, M.D., is stepping down. His sudden departure will likely send shock waves through biopharma, because the commissioner was popular for his market-based policies to lower drug costs and work to speed new brands to approval.
Gottlieb won Senate confirmation as FDA commissioner back in May 2017, an uncertain time for the drug industry. During the selection process, his name had been favored by a majority of biopharma executives polled by an analyst. At the time, one anonymous executive said he’s the “least likely to rail for the obliteration of the current efficacy, safety, risk-benefit model that is a foundation for advancement of new treatments in the United States”—unlike at least one other candidate for the job.
That preference proved out after Gottlieb took over the agency, as his policies favored speed and competition. And when the news broke Tuesday afternoon, the industry trade group PhRMA praised his “exemplary leadership.”
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