WASHINGTON — FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, resigned Tuesday, the Department of Health and Human Services announced. His resignation will be effective in 1 month.
“All of us at HHS are proud of the remarkable work Commissioner Gottlieb has done at the FDA,” Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement issued Tuesday afternoon. “He has been an exemplary public health leader, aggressive advocate for American patients, and passionate promoter of innovation. I will personally miss working with Scott on the important goals we share, and I know that is true for so many other members of the HHS family.”
“Scott’s leadership inspired historic results from the FDA team, which delivered record approvals of both innovative treatments and affordable generic drugs, while advancing important policies to confront opioid addiction, tobacco and youth e-cigarette use, chronic disease, and more,” Azar continued. “The public health of our country is better off for the work Scott and the entire FDA team have done over the last 2 years.”
Gottlieb had been commuting each week to his job from his home in Connecticut and wanted to spend more time with his family, officials told The Washington Post. He was well-liked by the White House and was not asked to leave; he could even be asked to come back for a different job, the paper reported.
Gottlieb was known for speeding up the pace of drug approvals and for his actions to curb teens’ use of e-cigarettes, which drew mixed reviews. He also criticized congressional legislation allowing terminally ill patients the “right to try” experimental, unapproved therapies, pointing out that the bills didn’t address one of the big problems with patient access: the fact that the drugs are often produced in discontinuous small batches so patients can’t be assured of continuous access.
Before becoming commissioner, Gottlieb previously served as the FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Medical and Scientific Affairs and before that, as a senior advisor to the FDA commissioner, according to his official biography. Earlier in his career, he was a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a hospitalist at New York University. He is a graduate of Wesleyan University and Mount Sinai School of Medicine.