FDA Commissioner Resigning From the Agency

Kristen Coppock, MA, Editor
Published Online: Wednesday, March 6th, 2019
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, has resigned from the agency, and will vacate his role in the next month.

In a letter to colleagues that was publicly shared on the FDA’s Twitter account, Gottlieb said that he was “missing” his family. He cited the challenge of being apart from his his wife and 3 young children as the reason for his depature. He did not further elaborate.

“I’m grateful for the support of my family, and for their sacrifice over the past 2 years,” Gottlieb wrote.

Gottlieb also used the letter to reflect on last few years that he has spent as commissioner of the agency.

“This is a very special institution, and the work that binds us in a shared mission is inspiring,” he wrote. “There are many important efforts we undertook together, countless new policies we advanced, and laws we enforced with vigor to protect consumers.”

In the coming weeks, Gottlieb said, he will be working to help secure the FDA’s 2020 budget and transition the agency to new leadership. Although a successor was not named in the letter, Gottlieb wrote that he will be working closely with the Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, who the outgoing commissioner called a “staunch advocate for the agency.”

In a prepared statement acknowledging the resignation, Azar praised Gottlieb’s work with the FDA. Azar cited a record number of approvals for innovative treatments and generic drugs, and advancing policies that confront opioid used disorder, tobacco and youth e-cigarette use, chronic disease as well as other initiatives.

“He has been an exemplary public health leader, aggressive advocate for American patients, and passionate promoter of innovation. I will personally miss working with Scott on the important goals we share, and I know that is true for so many other members of the HHS family,” said Azar, in his statement. “The public health of our country is better off for the work that Scott and the entire FDA team have done over the last 2 years.”

President Trump also commended Gottlieb for his work in a Tweet announcing the the resignationTrump said the commissioner has done an “absolutely terrific job.” In a second message, Trump cited Gottlieb’s work in helping the administration lower drug prices, among other achievements.

“He and his talents will be greatly missed,” Trump tweeted.

In his letter, Gottlieb said he is leaving the FDA knowing that the agency is well supported.
 
“I’ll depart knowing the FDA is strong, its people outstanding, and its mission well recognized and deeply respected across the government, and indeed, across the world,” he said.


Reference

US Department of Health & Human Services. Secretary Azar Praises Commissioner Gottlieb’s Service at FDA [news release]. Washington, DC; March 5, 2019: HHS website. https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2019/03/05/secretary-azar-praises-commissioner-gottliebs-fda-service.html. Accessed March 5, 2019. 

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