Trump to name Scott Gottlieb as FDA chief

Trump to name Scott Gottlieb as FDA chief
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President Trump plans to nominate Scott Gottlieb to be commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a more mainstream choice than some expected.

Gottlieb is a former FDA official under President George W. Bush, and seen as a qualified choice within the normal bounds for a Republican administration. 

The White House announced the pick in a Friday evening release. 

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The pick is likely to relieve many in the healthcare world, who had worried that Trump could pick Jim O'Neill, who holds several views outside the mainstream.

O'Neill, for example, had no medical background and believed that the FDA should not evaluate whether drugs are effective, right now a basic part of its mission, only whether they are safe.

Gottlieb, on the other hand, is a former practicing physician and an expert at the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute.

The FDA will play a major role in Trump's call to speed up the approval of new drugs to get them to market.

The agency is also at the center of major bipartisan legislation passed by Congress last year, the 21st Century Cures Act, which seeks to speed up approval of new drugs.

In a statement, Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderPelosi aide hopeful White House will support drug-pricing bill despite criticism Overnight Energy: BLM staff face choice of relocation or resignation as agency moves | Trump says he's 'very much into climate' | EPA rule would expand limits on scientific studies Juan Williams: Republicans flee Trump MORE (R-Tenn.) said he looked forward to meeting with Gottlieb about 21st Century Cures.

“It’s critical to have the right person in charge of the FDA, an agency that affects virtually every American and regulates about a quarter of all consumer spending in the United States," Alexander said. "Dr. Gottlieb has impressive qualifications helping American patients as both a physician and in his previous roles at the FDA."