All express concerns about Dr. Gottlieb’s nomination day before Senate confirmation hearing
Washington (April 4, 2017) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) were joined today by opioid treatment leaders and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reform advocates on a telephone press conference to voice strong opposition to the nomination of Dr. Scott Gottlieb to be Commission of the FDA. All expressed concerns about Dr. Gottlieb’s potential conflicts of interest due his past associations with big pharmaceutical drug companies, as well as the need to reform the FDA in light of the opioid epidemic devastating communities across the country. Every single day in America, 91 people die of an opioid-related overdose. Nationally, nearly half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid that was approved by the FDA and often prescribed by a physician.
“At a time when we need its leader to break the stronghold of big pharmaceutical companies on the FDA, Dr. Scott Gottlieb will not do the job,” said Senator Markey. “Dr. Gottlieb’s Big Pharma formula is simple: Take away DEA oversight over prescription opioids, give that authority to the FDA and then limit the FDA’s ability to utilize its full oversight authority over these addictive products. That would leave a mostly unregulated marketplace for big pharmaceutical companies and their opioid painkillers to thrive, while American families pay the highest price with their lives. I strongly oppose Dr. Gottlieb’s nomination and will be working with my colleagues to educate them about this dangerous nomination.”
“All across Ohio and across this country, people are dying because of the opioid epidemic,” said Senator Brown. “We need all hands on deck to fight the opioid crisis – including the FDA. Unfortunately, Dr. Scott Gottlieb’s record indicates that he would not take the epidemic and the FDA’s authority to rein in prescription painkillers and other drugs seriously, which is why I cannot support his nomination. We need a leader at the FDA who will step up the agency’s efforts to fight the addiction epidemic that is tearing families and communities apart – not one who will roll over for his Big Pharma friends.”
“Our country is in desperate need of an FDA Commissioner willing to take on the powerful opioid lobby- not one who has a track record of working for it,” said Dr. Andrew Kolodny, Executive Director, Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing.
“Dr. Gottlieb is entangled in an unprecedented web of deep financial and business ties to the pharmaceutical industry spanning more than a decade,” said Dr. Michael Carome, Director, Health Research Group, Public Citizen. “No amount of recusals will be sufficient to disentangle him from these financial conflicts of interest and ensure that he will put public health before industry profits.”