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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

Updated 1 hour ago - Technology

Mayors see cryptocurrency as a way to address income inequality

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

At the U.S. Conference of Mayors' meeting in D.C. this week, there's buzz around the idea of giving cryptocurrency accounts to low-income people.

Why it matters: Cities have been experimenting with newfangled ways to address income inequality — like guaranteed income programs — and the latest wave of trials could involve paying benefits or dividends in bitcoin, stablecoin or other digital currencies.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: FDA OKs antiviral drug remdesivir for non-hospitalized COVID patients — Walensky: CDC language "pivoting" on "fully vaccinated" — Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February
  2. Vaccines: Team USA 100% vaccinated against COVID ahead of Beijing Olympics — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America — Annual COVID vaccine preferable to boosters, says Pfizer CEO.
  3. Politics: Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates — Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults — Beijing officials urge COVID-19 "emergency mode" before Winter Olympics.
  5. Variant tracker
Updated 4 hours ago - Sports

Experts predict major boom for North American sports stadiums

Rendering of the $375 million Moody Center on the UT-Austin campus. Photo courtesy of Moody Center

Stadium and arena construction in North America will total a relatively tame $5.8 billion this year, a 12% decrease from 2021.

The big picture: What the industry lacks in construction it expects to make up for in design, with experts predicting a sports venue boom over the next half-decade, SBJ reports.