publication date: Mar. 15, 2019

News Analysis

The Gottlieb-Sharpless-Lowy rearrangement

By Paul Goldberg

No prizes should be handed out to anyone who predicted that:

Scott Gottlieb would leave his job as FDA commissioner,

Gottlieb would suggest NCI Director Ned Sharpless as his replacement, and

NCI Deputy Director Doug Lowy would step in as NCI acting director.

 

Gottlieb’s resignation was announced March 5, and the rest of the rearrangement was announced March 12 by HHS Secretary Alex Azar at a hearing of the Health Subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

By the time all of this came down, it was difficult to be surprised. Pretty much any keen observer in Washington could see it coming (The Cancer Letter, March 8).

Now, let’s turn to the questions, which are arranged here in order of increasing importance to the field of oncology.

“Why did Gottlieb leave?” is arguably the least intriguing question. Nobody expected Gottlieb to stay on through the end of the Trump administration. He had a scandal-free run for nearly two years, and things could only get worse. Also, the commute to Connecticut was soul-killing and opportunity costs astronomical.

Indirectly addressing the inevitably occurring rumors that Gottlieb was leaving because of policy disagreements, Azar on March 12 said Sharpless would continue Gottlieb’s policies.

“Dr. Sharpless’ deep scientific background and expertise will make him a strong leader for FDA,” Azar said in a statement. “There will be no let-up in the agency’s focus, from ongoing efforts on … Continue reading The Gottlieb-Sharpless-Lowy rearrangement

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Copyright (c) 2019 The Cancer Letter Inc.