The commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Scott Gottlieb, has unexpectedly resigned after serving just shy of two years in the post.
Gottlieb announced his intention to stand down in a letter to Alex Azar II, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, the FDA’s parent agency, on 5 March. Gottlieb says the decision is due to the fact that he wants to spend more time with his family.
Speaking in an interview with The Washington Post, Gottlieb says “It was a very hard decision”, calling this posting “the best job I will ever have. He continues: “I am leaving because I need to spend time with my family. I get home late Friday, work on weekends and come back to Washington on Sunday. I did the job 100%.”
Gottlieb took up the position in May 2017, and has presided over a number of important initiatives, including the development of the new 510(k) pathway for device clearances.
No successor has been named. A new commissioner must be approved by the US Senate.
“All of us at the Department of Health and Human Services [HHS] are proud of the remarkable work Commissioner Gottlieb has done at the FDA,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar comments in a statement. “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.
“Scott’s leadership inspired historic results from the FDA team, which delivered record approvals of both innovative treatments and affordable generic drugs, while advancing important policies to confront opioid addiction, tobacco and youth e-cigarette use, chronic disease, and more. The public health of our country is better off for the work Scott and the entire FDA team have done over the last two years.”