Amongst the mixed opinions pertaining to whether Gottlieb was the right pick for head of the FDA or not, there are those who are put off by the fact that he has deep ties to drug companies and others that fall under the FDA’s jurisdiction. However there are others who regard this as an advantage, meaning that he has experience in the industry.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb who was deputy FDA commissioner during the George W. Bush administration, is seen as competent and knowledgeable. A healthcare investor and consultant, who has been on multiple company boards, he has now agreed to divest his holdings in any healthcare stocks.
What is his stance on vaping expected to be?
Most importantly, in an article he had written for Forbes back in 2013, (pre deeming rule), he seemed to approach the topic of vaping regulations in a neutral and rational manner.
“FDA was to create a path to enable cigarette makers to transition away from smoked tobacco and win government approval of consumable products that used tobacco but presumably harboured less, and perhaps even none of the health risks posed by smoking. When this quid pro quo was pushed through Congress, the industry’s critics and allies each positioned it as a win-win. But it was dependent on FDA being able to establish – and maintain – a regulatory path that let tobacco get approval for new products that posed a “reduced harm” over traditional smoked cigarettes.” wrote Gottlieb four years ago.
Open to dialogue
Additionally, at his confirmation hearing last April, Gottlieb maintained a non-committal stance when asked about banning e-liquid flavours. “I recognize there is a line here somewhere, and I don’t know where that line gets drawn,” was Scott Gottlieb’s reply to Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), when the latter listed a few “child friendly” e-cigarette flavours. Gottlieb added, “I think that line needs to get drawn by people who are experts in evaluating that science, and I want to support that.”
The new FDA commissioner said that it is imperative that this matter is viewed from all angles as the products may be inappropriate in one context, but relevant in another. Hence he believes that experts on the topic need to be consulted and play a leading role in taking decisions related to this matter. “I think a properly constructed and overseen regulatory process should have the capacity under the authorities Congress gave the agency to make these determinations,” he said.
Needless to say, many vapers and public health experts are feeling positive. Gottlieb’s words are those of someone who is open for dialogue, rather than adopting the same forbidding stance that the FDA had maintained so far in relation to the products.