Scott Gottlieb is stepping down as leader of the FDA — and many in health and medicine quickly turned to Twitter to express their displeasure.
Gottlieb, who has served as the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration since May 2017, announced on Tuesday that he plans to leave his post in one month. During his tenure, the FDA broke annual records for generic drug approvals, cracked down on unproven stem cell treatments, and took new steps to curb youth e-cigarette use.
“This has been a wonderful journey and parting is very hard,” he said in a tweet of his own, adding that he was “immensely grateful for the opportunity to help lead this wonderful agency.”
His work quickly won Gottlieb respect from lawmakers in both parties and made him one of President Trump’s most popular appointees, though some consumer advocates argued that he wasn’t tough enough in regulating the drug and tobacco industries.
Some in the public health and health policy communities praised his work on vaping, drug pricing, and other issues.
I'm sorry to hear this. Commissioner Gottlieb has prioritized many key public health issues during his service, and he has really moved the agency forward on drug pricing issues as well. https://t.co/p0TCPAcI8G
— Rachel Sachs (@RESachs) March 5, 2019
I didn't expect to like Gottlieb when he was nominated—this is largely related to things he'd written on Medicaid—but he has been a persistently bright point of competence in a dim and dismal landscape.
— Adrianna McIntyre (@onceuponA) March 5, 2019
— Paul Knoepfler (@pknoepfler) March 5, 2019
Others said they would miss his approach to overseeing drug approvals and his efforts to publicly promote vaccinations.
Sorry to hear about @SGottliebFDA’s departure from @US_FDA, I wish him all the best! During his time he oversaw approval of many innovative Rx. We’ll miss Scott but fully expect FDA’s support of innovation to continue.
— John Maraganore (@JMaraganore) March 5, 2019
Scott has been a ray of sunshine — advocating for vaccines, smarter drug policy, more generics, tackling vaping and tobacco
Let's hope the next Commissioner is half as goodhttps://t.co/w91BhOvf45
— Ashish K. Jha (@ashishkjha) March 5, 2019
But he also faced criticism for not acting aggressively enough to address the rise in vaping among teens, for the agency’s controversial approval of a new opioid painkiller, and for being too close to the pharmaceutical industry.
2) Despite endorsing a report calling for an overhaul of opioid policies – it never happened. Despite promising Congress he’d fix mistakes, he didn’t. And he allowed FDA to approve a new opioid 500 times stronger than heroin.
— Andrew Kolodny (@andrewkolodny) March 5, 2019
Scott Gottlieb was entangled in an unprecedented web of Big Pharma ties. Good riddance.
It's imperative, but sadly unrealistic, that the next nominee for FDA commissioner be someone who is independent from industry ties and will make protection of public health a top priority. https://t.co/vnrHhpJBEA
— Public Citizen (@Public_Citizen) March 5, 2019