Trump considering Silicon Valley investor to head FDA: report

Greg Nash

Donald Trump is considering appointing Silicon Valley investor Jim O’Neill to lead the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Bloomberg reported Wednesday. 

{mosads}O’Neill, a close associate of billionaire Peter Thiel, is a managing director at Thiel’s Mithril Capital Management. He served in the George W. Bush administration as principal associate deputy secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services. 

O’Neill would be an unconventional pick because he does not have a medical background, and the head of the FDA usually is a trained physician or a prominent scientific researcher, as Bloomberg notes.

Many of Trump’s selections have been regarded as unconventional as he taps those with little experience working for the government. 

Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s choice to lead the Treasury Department, has never worked in government. 

Dr. Ben Carson, who recently accepted the position as the head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, is a retired neurosurgeon and has no experience in government or running a large bureaucracy. 

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who Trump nominated to be ambassador to the United Nations, has no foreign policy experience. 

However, picking someone from outside the medical industry could avoid the accusations of conflicts of interest that current FDA Commissioner Robert Califf has faced. 

The new FDA commissioner would also oversee big agency reforms under the 21st Century Cures Act, which seeks to speed up the approval of new drugs. The Senate is voting on the bill Wednesday.

O’Neill’s selection could also reignite a debate over the speed and safety of regulatory approvals.

Tags Donald Trump

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