Mar 6, 2019

A look at Scott Gottlieb's legacy as FDA head

Photo: Chuck Kennedy/Axios

You’d be hard-pressed to find many Trump administration officials with a better reputation, on both sides of the aisle, than Scott Gottlieb. But now he’s leaving.

The big picture: Gottlieb has been an incredibly consequential FDA commissioner. He's not without his critics — no one is — but he's about as close as you can get, especially in this administration.

Gottlieb's campaign against flavored tobacco products will be the main headline from his tenure at the FDA, and it's by far the biggest controversy he has courted. It was also one of those regulatory agendas only a conservative could set, and won praise from public-health advocates.

  • The public health community also praised Gottlieb, earlier in his tenure, for using both regulatory tools and rhetoric to embrace medication-assisted therapy for people addicted to opioids. Breaking the stigma around replacement therapies like methadone has been a long-standing priority.
  • And he leaned into the FDA's ability to help spur a more competitive marketplace for drugs, largely through generics. He maintained the agency's effort to clear away a backlog of generic drugs awaiting approval decisions and also prioritized complex generics, like a new EpiPen.
  • His reputation as a competent, no-nonsense regulator, combined with near-constant outreach, made Gottlieb popular, even with Democrats who were sometimes surprised they liked him.
  • Flashback from last February: Everybody likes Scott Gottlieb

The other side: Some conservative activists thought he went too far on vaping, and he was never popular with liberal advocacy groups like Public Citizen, who saw him — and who see the FDA generally — as overly friendly to industry.

What we're watching: Tobacco stocks were up and biotech stocks were down after news of Gottlieb's resignation broke.

  • Gottlieb presented his vaping proposal to the White House just last week, so even though he's sticking around for about another month, the vaping industry will have more opportunities to soften or kill his plans once Gottlieb leaves.

Go deeper: FDA chief hands the WH his plan to restrict flavored e-cigs

Go deeper

Boris Johnson moved to intensive care as coronavirus symptoms worsen

Photo: Peter Summers/Getty Images

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been taken to the intensive care unit of St. Thomas Hospital in London due to increasingly severe coronavirus symptoms.

The backdrop: Johnson was admitted to the hospital on Sunday for what Downing Street called "routine tests" because his condition had not improved ten days after he tested positive for the virus. His condition has since "worsened," according to a statement, and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will step into his place "where necessary."

StatementArrow9 mins ago - World

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 1,309,439 — Total deaths: 73,703 — Total recoveries: 273,546Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 352,546 — Total deaths: 10,389 — Total recoveries: 18,953Map.
  3. 2020 update: Wisconsin governor issues executive order to delay in-person primary voting until June.
  4. Public health latest: Asymptomatic children could play important role in coronavirus spread, new data from the CDC shows.
  5. States' latest: West coast states send ventilators to New York and other states experiencing a more immediate need — Data suggests coronavirus curve may be flattening in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
  6. Jobs latest: Unemployment could already be at 13% "and moving higher," per former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Wisconsin governor issues order to delay in-person primary voting until June

Tony Evers. Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) issued an executive order Monday delaying in-person voting for the state's primary election — currently scheduled for Tuesday — until June 9.

Why it matters: Wisconsin was slated to be the only state to vote on Tuesday amid the coronavirus pandemic, despite having a stay-at-home order in place.