FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb to Step Down

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FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb to Step Down

03/06/2019
FDA Commissioner Gottlieb to Step Down
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb

Scott Gottlieb, commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has revealed in a letter to staffers that he will leave his position next month to spend more time with his family. A medical doctor who had previously served in the George W. Bush administration, Gottlieb commutes weekly to Washington, D.C., from his home in Connecticut.

“I’m immensely grateful for the opportunity to help lead this wonderful agency, for the support of my colleagues, for the public health goals we advanced together, and the strong support of [Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar] and [President Donald Trump],” said Gottlieb in a tweet after the news broke. “This has been a wonderful journey, and parting is very hard.

On Gottlieb’s watch, the agency issued draft guidance to improve its oversight of food safety and the recall process, including the potential release of retailer information in relation to food recalls; promised further menu-labeling guidance; came to a formal agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make the oversight of food more efficient and effective by boosting coordination between the two agencies; and oversaw highly publicized multistate recalls of such items as romaine lettuce and eggs, among other food-related actions.

The commissioner also had to grapple with the 35-day partial government shutdown earlier this year, which reportedly affected routine food safety inspections.

The food industry, which championed Gottlieb’s confirmation to lead the FDA two years ago, expressed its appreciation of his efforts.

“Under the leadership of Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, the Food and Drug Administration was a strong and effective champion of public health,” noted Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the Washington-based Grocery Manufacturers Association. “His candor, transparency and willingness to work together was a welcomed approach in the regulatory environment. The consumer packaged goods industry believes in smart, uniform regulation and a strong FDA is a critical partner in building trust in the products Americans use every day.