Trump expected to tap Scott Gottlieb to lead FDA

Kimberly Leonard

President Donald Trump's expected pick to lead the Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, is a former government official who has advised drug companies and advocated on behalf of bringing medicines to market faster.

Gottlieb, 44, is currently a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative-leaning think tank, and previously served as an FDA deputy commissioner under President George W. Bush. He also worked at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and became a member of the federal Health IT Policy Committee during the Obama administration.

News of the expected pick was first reported by Bloomberg.

In writings and speeches, Gottlieb has voiced opposition to regulations, which could make him a target for Democrats during Senate confirmation proceedings. He also has worked as an adviser to drug companies including GlaxoSmithKline and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

The agency Gottlieb would be tasked with leading is responsible for overseeing food safety and also reviews the safety and efficacy of drugs and medical devices before they hit the market.

Trump has said he wants to tackle high prescription drug prices during his presidency, and has in the past floated reducing regulations to help accomplish that goal, as well as allowing the government's Medicare program to negotiate prices.

The president met with Democratic lawmakers this week to discuss drug pricing and has tweeted that he is "working on a new system where there will be competition in the drug industry."

Gottlieb received his medical degree from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. He would be preceded by Dr. Robert Califf, who stepped down in January. Califf's nomination by former President Barack Obama was opposed by then-presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont over concerns about Califf's ties to the drug industry.