Scott Gottlieb, FDA commissioner, resigns

By – The Washington Times – Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner , who oversaw federal efforts to tackle abuse of opioids and reverse an explosion in teen vaping, resigned Tuesday, depriving President of a steady hand in a Cabinet that has seen plenty of upheaval.

said , who will leave in about a month, accomplished plenty during the first two years of his administration.

“ has helped us to lower drug prices, get a record number of generic drugs approved and onto the market, and so many other things. He and his talents will be greatly missed!” the president tweeted.

Multiple reports said was tired of commuting from Connecticut each week and would like to spend more time with his family. His departure coincided with pushback from Congress and conservative circles against the FDA’s aggressive efforts to crack down e-cigarette sales.

Some said it amounted to government overreach into an industry that has helped adult smokers quit, and Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, a tobacco state, disagreed with the FDA’s push to ban menthol cigarettes.

However, the commissioner said he couldn’t tolerate a new generation of nicotine-addicted Americans.

also spearheaded the FDA’s push to approve more generic drugs and shame brand-name manufacturers that boxed out competition in the market, as makes the cost of prescription drugs a signature issue.

recounted those efforts in his resignation letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II, while crediting his staff for speeding along new cures, cracking down on fraudsters who peddle dangerous products, and assisting recovery efforts in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

“All of these efforts will have palpable impacts on the health of patients and the safety of families,” he wrote. “We did all of this, and much more, through the hard work, scientific prowess and public spiritedness of one of the most talented workforces in the federal government.”

The commissioner didn’t provide a specific reason for leaving in his letter, though The Associated Press reported he cited “the challenge of being apart from my family” in a note to staffers.

is the third major health appointee to leave ’s administration.

The president’s first health secretary, Tom Price, was ousted amid questions about his expensive plane travel, while Brenda Fitzgerald — his first pick to lead the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — left six months into the job after failing to unwind stock holdings that conflicted with her position.

’s departure leaves yet another position for to fill.

The Senate just confirmed ’s nominees for attorney general and Environmental Protection Agency administrator, though his pick to lead the Interior Department, David Bernhardt, is awaiting confirmation and his defense secretary is serving in an acting capacity.

’s chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, is also serving in an interim role.

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