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Ex-FDA chief Gottlieb's quick move to pharma raises eyebrows

Will join Pfizer board

Scott Gottlieb

Just 83 days after leaving his Commissioner role at the FDA, Scott Gottlieb has joined the board of big pharma group Pfizer.

The rapid move to a big pharma company will inevitably draw criticism of what has been described as a “revolving door” between the US regulator and industry with FDA staffers at all levels taking positions in the drug industry.

That includes former FDA Commissioner Mark McClellan, who is on the board at Johnson & Johnson, while a probe by the journal Science published last year found that 11 of 16 FDA reviewers who worked on 28 drug approvals and then left the agency are now employed by or consult for the companies they recently regulated.

Gottlieb unexpectedly resigned from the FDA in the spring after just two years in charge of the agency, and during his tenure introduced a number of reforms on the whole that were welcomed by industry and healthcare providers alike.

There were a lot of concerns before Gottlieb’s appointment that he was a little too close to the pharma industry, although after his departure the prevailing sense was that he stayed independent and charted a course firmly focused on public health issues, including the rapid uptake of e-cigarettes or vapes among teens.

He pushed the FDA to the fore on drug pricing, took on tactics deployed by pharma to block generic and biosimilar competition, and clamped down on opioid over-prescribing, whilst winning industry fans with new measures to accelerate access to experimental drugs for serious and untreatable diseases.

Moving to a big pharma company was always going to be controversial however, and Gottlieb’s tweet to announce his new position triggered a host of comments claiming he has sold out, albeit many from incensed vapers.

Gottlieb Pfizer tweet

His work on facilitating the take-up of biosimilars will be a benefit for Pfizer, which has a stake in that product category.

“We are fortunate to have D. Gottlieb join Pfizer’s Board of Directors,” said Pfizer executive chairman and former CEO Ian Read.

“Scott’s expertise in health care, public policy and the industry will be an asset to our company and enable our shareholders to continue to benefit from a board representing a balance of experience, competencies and perspectives.”

Article by
Phil Taylor

28th June 2019

From: Regulatory

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