Senate Confirms Scott Gottlieb as FDA Chief

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday confirmed Scott Gottlieb as the new commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.

The 57-42 vote was largely along party lines, with Democrats criticizing Gottlieb's financial links with health care and pharmaceutical companies and his past opposition to FDA measures to reduce the risks posed by some products, the Washington Post reported.

The 44-year-old Gottlieb, a physician and venture capitalist, was as a deputy FDA commissioner and a high-ranking official at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services during the George W. Bush administration.

He takes charge of the FDA as it faces pressure from Republicans to further accelerate its drug-approval process and to be more aggressive role in fighting the nation's opioid epidemic, the Post reported.

While Gottlieb has been an outspoken critic of the FDA, some experts don't think that's an indication of how he will handle the agency.

"I understand why people can look at things he has written and have a lot of concerns, but he's going into a different role as FDA commissioner," Joshua Sharfstein, who was deputy commissioner during the Obama administration and is now a professor at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, told the Post.

"When you have an opinion and express it, you aren't responsible for the consequences," Sharfstein said. "But as commissioner, you are responsible."

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