Washington, D.C. — The Senate voted 57–42 to confirm Scott Gottlieb as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) new commissioner reports the New York Times. Industry has been watching Gottlieb’s confirmation hearings closely, as senators questioned the nominee, trying to determine how he would approach dietary supplements. We got our first glimpse of what lay ahead when Gottlieb publicly affirmed his support and commitment to enforce the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA) if he is confirmed as commissioner in response to a question by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), one of the original architects of the legislation along with Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa).
“As someone who uses dietary supplements every day, I believe they serve an important role in health promotion for millions of Americans and I support consumer access to these products,” stated Gottlieb. “I believe the regulatory framework established under DSHEA is the right one, and if confirmed, I would commit to enforcing DSHEA, as intended by Congress.”
Following Gottlieb’s confirmation, industry trade groups praised the decision. The Council for Responsible Nutrition’s president and CEO Steve Mister issued a statement saying, “We were pleased to learn that Dr. Gottlieb is among the 71 percent of Americans—over 170 million of them—who take dietary supplements. Further, we are encouraged by his statement during his confirmation that the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) is the right framework for regulating our industry.”
Dan Fabricant, Ph.D., CEO and President of Natural Products Association (NPA) was also enthusiastic about the confirmation. “Dr. Gottlieb will ensure consumers have access to products that support their health and that businesses have the right to sell those products and grow the economy,” he stated.
While experienced, holding positions at FDA during the administration of George W. Bush, including deputy commissioner, Gottlieb’s work consulting for pharmaceutical companies and serving on various advisory boards for companies like GlaxoSmithKline and Takeda has been cause for concern as potential conflicts of interest. Gottlieb, in an effort to ease concerns, has promised to divest himself from health care companies to which he has invested significantly and recuse himself for a year from decisions involving those companies.
UPDATED 5/10/17 4:43 PM