publication date: Mar. 8, 2019

Gottlieb resigns at FDA, recommends Sharpless as successor

By Paul Goldberg

Scott Gottlieb has submitted a letter of resignation from his job as FDA commissioner, reportedly recommending that NCI Director Ned Sharpless be appointed as his successor at the agency.

Sharpless’s name was first mentioned in The Wall Street Journal as a possible candidate to replace Gottlieb, and knowledgeable sources told The Cancer Letter that Gottlieb has indeed mentioned to the administration that Sharpless would be his choice for the job.

If Sharpless were indeed to move to the top job at the regulatory agency, he would be the second NCI director to do so. That said, the circumstances were extremely different in 2005, when Andrew von Eschenbach received a battlefield promotion to FDA commissioner.

Von Eschenbach’s predecessor at the agency, Lester Crawford, was fired after two months on the job, when he was found to have failed to disclose ownership in food, beverage, and device companies (The Cancer Letter, Sept. 30, 2005).

By contrast, Gottlieb, a 46-year-old physician and cancer survivor, has completed a successful near-two-year stint as commissioner, and it appears that he really is leaving largely in order to put an end to his weekly commute from Connecticut and spend more time with his family, which includes three young children.

Gottlieb is resigning from a controversial administration with his reputation intact. He has been viewed as a levelheaded regulator and has focused on genuine public health issues, including increasing oversight of vaping and other tobacco products.

Gottlieb’s opportunity costs—measured in consulting gigs and seats on company boards—were high when he took the job. Now, with the words “former FDA commissioner” added … Continue reading Gottlieb resigns at FDA, recommends Sharpless as successor

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