Mr. Gottlieb is now on the board of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, congratulations to him! Remember when he was regulating that and every other company not even 4 months ago? We sure remember. We also remember before becoming commissioner of the FDA he also did some work for Pfizer.
Pfizer is a billion dollar company and is the umbrella for all kinds of other drug companies, and since Gottlieb was nominated as FDA commissioner, Pfizer’s overall market value made a nice leap from $200 billion to $240 billion. During his entire first year as FDA commissioner Gottlieb was forced to recuse himself from making decisions involving over a dozen pharmaceutical companies with big players like Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and GlaxoSmithKline.
Not so long ago back in February a safety trial run by Pfizer found that higher doses of their drug Xeljanz resulted in a “statistically and clinically important difference” in the instances of minor blood clots and lesser instances of death. Around the same time Gottlieb was saying the FDA's stance was to just warn doctors about the study's findings, over in the European Union they put restrictions on the drug, you know because of the whole "lesser instances of death" thing.
The drug was originally sold to help with rheumatoid arthritis but as opportunistic as these drug companies are the drug was marketed for the treatment of ulcerative colitis and psoriatic arthritis as well. However as per Gottlieb's FDA guidance the study did not focus on these other conditions, even though the dangerous higher doses were commonly recommended for patients with ulcerative colitis. Patients with inflammatory bowel disease like colitis have a higher risk of clots but those patients continued to receive the dangerous higher doses.
As much as I love having a punching bag to punch up to, Gottliebs actions and his ilk between the FDA and big pharma is nothing new. Over the past three or four decades every single FDA commissioner has joined the board of a pharmaceutical company after leaving the agency, with the exception of one individual.
Before we had Scott Gottlieb the guy running that circus was Robert Califf, a consultant who was paid tens of thousands of dollars on the regular by the pharmaceutical industry. Merck, AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Johnson & Johnson, were all shelling him over money before he finally took a job with the publicly traded pharma company Biokinetics.
Then before Califf, there was Margaret Hamburg in charge of the FDA. Struck with bad luck or perhaps cosmic justice she was charged in a racketeering lawsuit shortly after leaving office, accused of collusion, conspiracy, and racketeering involving Johnson & Johnson’s drug Levaquin. Hamburg purposefully kept the risks of the drug out of the awareness of the public, which ended up killing over 5,000 patients and leaving tens of thousands injured or with severe disease.
Then before Hamburg was appointed Andrew Von Eschenbach was the head honcho of the FDA. After leaving his post, von Eschenback took a position on the board of BioTime, a publicly traded biotechnology company that develops stem cell therapies and cancer drugs. Von Eschenbach took over the FDA suddenly, after only a two month posting by his predecessor, Lester Crawford.
Lester Crawford was no certainly no saint either and only served a few months before resigning in the wake of allegations that he had failed to disclose conflicts of interest. Crawford later pleaded guilty, scoring a three year probation and some fine he was probably easily able to afford, over a conflict of interest and false reporting of information about stocks he owned in agricultural and pharmaceutical companies. You know, just the stuff the FDA regulates, whoops!
Before Crawford, there was Mark McClellan, who after the FDA went on to work for Johnson & Johnson. Before that was Jane Henney, who followed her FDA career up by becoming a director at Amerisourcebergen Corp, a wholesale drug company. I'm sure both of them had some shady goings on as well, but now that we're back to before the year 2000 of FDA commissioners I don't have the resources to delve back that far in history, aka any sketchy dealings they may have been involved in were neatly swept under the rug of history.
Did you know that three quarters of the FDA’s drug review budget comes from the biopharmaceutical industry alone? It's like the opposite of what we face with the eLiquid and vape regulations, hundreds of risky drugs being rushed to market without any decent reassurance of product safety. Why would we trust federal regulators to protect consumers when they are clearly on a leash made of money held by big Pharma?
What's big Pharma's beef with vaping then? Perhaps they are mad that their "legitimate" attempts at taking away the profits from big tobacco companies failed with all their nicotine replacement treatments? Maybe they work in tandem to make us all sick just to sell us the cures? What do you think?