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Even before Scott Gottlieb took the top job at the Food and Drug Administration, there were signs his tenure would be different.

For one, he had ties to the pharmaceutical industry — he served on company boards, he worked in venture capital firms that invested in health care companies, and he was a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank that supports deregulation.


OK, he also has a medical degree and once served as an FDA deputy commissioner. But those attributes were largely overlooked — or simply dismissed — by naysayers who worried he would allow drug makers to have their way with the agency, especially in a pro-business Trump administration.

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  • What disappointed me most about Gottlieb was his failure to end the FDA ban on genetically modified salmon. After a twenty seven year investigation, FDA finally agreed in Nov 2015 that it was safe to eat and safe for the environment, but immediately after finding it safe, FDA issued a ban on raising it and selling it in the United States until FDA could issue a rule about how it should be labeled at point of sale. Then FDA also said that it had no authority to issue such a labeling rule, but continued the ban. Finally, after Congress passed a law that required all GMO foods to be labeled in accordance to a rule from USDA, that USDA rule was issued late last year, but FDA still won’t lift its ban for the tenuous reason that the labeling rule wouldn’t count because it didn’t come from FDA. This makes catch-22 look like child’s play.

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