FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb announced in a letter to staff on Tuesday that he will be resigning his post. Gottlieb states that the reason for his sudden departure is “being apart from my family for these past two years and missing my wife and three young children.”
Gottlieb has been praised by President Donald Trump for his ability to aggressively push through “red tape” and other consumer protection regulations to get pharmaceuticals and other consumer products onto the market faster.
He has also been a key player in the Trump administrations fight against illicit opiates which he regards to be one of the biggest crises facing the FDA. He has also tackled the public health issues surrounding e-cigarettes and vaping.
Prior to being appointed by President Trump to his role as Commissioner, he served as the agency’s deputy commissioner.
While agency insiders familiar with the circumstances surrounding Gottlieb’s resignation confirm that his stated reason for the commissioner’s departure is genuine. However, with so many resignations from top U.S. regulatory agencies coming in such quick succession, there are many who wonder if there is more to the story. Some on Capitol Hill have speculated that Gottlieb is part of the ‘revolving door’ among U.S. regulators, inferring that his decision to leave the FDA was part of a prearranged plan for him to rush through drug approvals on behalf of private drug companies during his time in public office, only to later be rewarded with assets or even a job within the pharmaceutical industry.