U.S. FDA chief tough on e-cigarettes steps down abruptly

U.S. FDA chief tough on e-cigarettes steps down abruptly

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is stepping down after almost two years leading the agency's response to a host of public health challenges, including the opioid epidemic, rising drug prices and underage vaping.

Trump tweeted that Gottlieb "has done an absolutely terrific job", adding "he and his talents will be greatly missed".

Dr. Gottlieb also spearheaded the FDA's push to approve more generic drugs and shame brand-name manufacturers that boxed out competition in the market, as Mr. Trump makes the cost of prescription drugs a signature issue. Gottlieb was seen as sensitive to public demands on issues like drug prices and opioid abuse.

Another person familiar with his thinking said Gottlieb had also been frustrated by the government shutdown that shuttered numerous agency's activities for about a month.

The advocacy group Public Citizen said in a statement Tuesday that his time as the agency's head "was marked by regulatory decision making regarding medications and medical devices that tilted further in favor of industry's financial interests rather than the interests of public health".

Not everyone was as enthused, with broker Liberum saying that the share price swing was "not warranted", given a lack of clarity on the direction Gottlieb's replacement would take on tobacco controls. "He was clearly someone doing a good job, and who everybody respected". "I want to be very clear - I'm not leaving", he wrote on Twitter on January 3.

More news: Trump serves fast food feast to another football team

"All of us at HHS are proud of the remarkable work Commissioner Gottlieb has done at the FDA", he said.

Analyst Nico von Stackelberg at Liberum said Gottlieb "has had a huge impact" on United States public health policy and it thought that the Tobacco Products division is "clearly moving down a path towards greater restrictions over combustible cigarettes and more recently, flavoured e-cigarettes".

"If the probability of a menthol ban and nicotine standard were say 75%, we wouldn't say this takes the probability of it going through much below 70%".

Gottlieb has submitted his paperwork for resignation, "but he will be on for at least another month", an administration official told CBS News.

FDA leaders have usually centered a lot of their consideration on a handful of medical subjects, however, Gottlieb has been energetic and aggressive on many points as commissioner without hewing to a strictly conservative or liberal ideology.

"There are many important efforts we undertook together, countless new policies we advanced, and laws we enforced with vigor to protect consumers", he wrote. "It belongs to he U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and aims at promoting and protecting public health through the regulation and the supervision of various products among which tobacco products since 2009".

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