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J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Trump's nominee to head the FDA, Scott Gottlieb, has previously proposed a controversial plan: speed up the process for drug approvals under the agency and have politically appointed officials, not doctors, decide which drugs will be approved.

The inspiration: The European Medicines Agency — the European counterpart to the FDA — evaluates new drugs using "a body of politically appointed (and therefore politically accountable) officials, drawn from the European Commission." That means the FDA's European counterpart drug approval process exists outside the agency that evaluates them.

Why it matters: This plan could hurt the FDA's credibility, as drug approvals would become politically motivated by the appointed body Gottlieb proposed.

The FDA's drug approval process is already faster than the European Union's agency. Researchers found that the FDA took an average of 306 days to approve 170 drugs for marketing in the US, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. The European Medicines Agency spent an average of 383 days to approve 144 new drugs for marketing, the study found, so many are challenging the efficacy of Gottlieb's plan to change the review process in the US.

Go deeper

13 mins ago - World

NYT: Biden won't immediately remove U.S. tariffs on China

President-elect Joe Biden during an event in Wilmington, Delaware, on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump's 25% tariffs imposed on China under the phase one trade deal will remain in place at the start of the new administration, President-elect Biden said in an interview with the New York Times published early Wednesday.

Details: "I'm not going to make any immediate moves, and the same applies to the tariffs," Biden said. He plans to conduct a full review of the current U.S. policy on China and speak with key allies in Asia and Europe to "develop a coherent strategy," he said.

Trump threatens to veto Defense spending bill over social media shield

Photo: Erin Schaff - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Tuesday a threat to veto a must-pass end-of-year $740 billion bill defense-spending authorization bill unless Congress repeals a federal law that protects social media sites from legal liability.

Why it matters: Trump's attempt to get Congress to end the tech industry protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is the latest escalation in his war on tech giants over what he and some other Republicans perceive as bias against conservatives.

The walls close in on Trump

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

With Bill Barr's "Et tu, Brute!" interview with AP, President Trump is watching the walls close in on his claims of fraud, hoaxes and conspiracies.

Why it matters: Trump and his legal team continue to claim election fraud. But the Republican governors of Arizona and Georgia have certified their elections, a loyalist like Barr has weighed in, and lower-ranking officials have taken potshots.