It’s gotten to the point that it’s predictable: if there is a candidate for a key post in Trump’s administration who will place corporate interests and profits above human life and well-being, that’s who will wind up getting the job. Meet the latest in Trump’s parade of corporate stooges: Dr. Scott Gottlieb, Trump’s nominee for head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Dr. Gottlieb has been around at the FDA for awhile, having served as Deputy Commissioner for Medical and Scientific Affairs between 2005 and 2007. During his tenure in that position, he was forced to recuse himself from involvement in a project on plans to deal with a potential bird flu epidemic. The reason: he had major ties to Big Pharma.
In fact, Dr. Gottlieb has long been a Wall Street insider: before starting medical school, he was a healthcare analyst for Alex Brown & Sons, an investment bank in Baltimore.
Although Dr. Gottlieb is an assistant professor at the New York University School of Medicine and continues to practice as an internist at the Langone Medical Center, he keeps one foot firmly planted in the pro-corporate world as a resident fellow at the right-wing American Enterprise Institute.
- During a clinical trial for a treatment for multiple sclerosis, three subjects developed a serious blood condition, and one of them died. The study was discontinued. Dr. Gottlieb’s response: stopping the study was an “overreaction,” because the outcomes may have been because of the disease, not the medication.
- In 2005, Pfizer sought approval for a new treatment for osteoporosis, known as Oporia (lasofoxifene). It was expected to generate revenues of $1 billion a year for the drugmaker. When the FDA rejected Pfizer’s application, Gottlieb was highly critical of the scientists involved, attacking them in emails.
- Gottlieb was still there for his friends at Pfizer, however: when the pharmaceutical giant was anxious to get its smoking cessation drug, Chantix, onto the market, the good doctor was there to make certain that market approval got pushed through. Since then, Chantix has been implicated in a large number of suicides.
And those are just for starters.
Needless to say, Gottlieb has always been rabid opponent of the immensely popular and reasonably successful Affordable Care Act, blaming “Obamacare” for reduced competition in the Almighty Marketplace. It goes without saying that Gottlieb firmly believes that health care should remain a for-profit commodity, available only to those who can afford to pay.
Naturally, Congressional Democrats are concerned about Gottlieb’s long-standing love affair with Wall Street and Corporate America. What would he do as head of the FDA? Gottlieb’s response: “[I] will work hard to preserve my impartiality…[and] earn and keep the public trust.” He has also “promised” to resign from all the corporate boards of which he is a member and divest himself of his interests in health care companies.
As we know from the actions of this administration, words mean little – ones record means much more.