The Scott Gottlieb era is (almost) over


It's very hard. I'm away from my family in the weekend. It's very hard so hard as part of the job is is the fact that I'm away from my family, and even when I'm home on weekends, you know, spending one whole day working. So I don't think I'm balancing it. Very well. I'm Dan diamond this is Paul shack. And that was FDA Commissioner Scott guy lead appearing on this podcast, just four months ago at the time the Commissioner said that missing his family was the hardest part of his job in this week. That's the reason he gave for leaving FDA. It's one of the most notable departures for the Trump administration and given God leaves influence high profile all the policies, he pushed the people he hired. We wanted to spend some time looking into all the new questions your raises for the Trump administration. I you'll hear from my colleagues Sarah Carlin Smith, a farmer reporter and Adam Cancun who kind of covers it all as we talk about the politics around Commissioner Ghalib's departure, then after the break I sat down with Sarah over mall. Also, a farmer reporter and Halina bottom Miller, our senior food and agriculture reporter to discuss the policy implications and. God lead a legacy at FDA reminder that Commissioner and Gottlieb appeared on this podcast twice. I'll include links to those episodes for you to listen at your convenience. And now, let's get to it with Sarah Carlin Smith and Adam Cancun, Sarah Carlin Smith, welcome to politico. Boss, jack. Thanks, San Adam Cancun. Welcome back to politico balls check to hey, dance could veer by my count. There have been three agency altering departures attic during the Trump administration. HHS secretary Tom Price left in September twenty seventeen because of the charter plane scandal CDC director, Brenda FitzGerald, left in January twenty eighteen after her stock portfolio scandal where it turned out she owned tobacco, stocks and other things and kept having to recuse as a result. And now Scott Gottlieb is leaving just two months after he memorably posted a meme of Mark Twain, and the quote, the reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated. Sarah, you cover FDA so closely. Why is he FDA Commissioner leaving really so FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb says he only planned on ever being in this job about two years for just about at this. Mark his family lives in Connecticut, which is close to DC, but you know, it's on a daily commutable distance. And he just taken too much like a toll on his personal life and his family, and it's time for him to move on that being said that this is DC we've heard a lot of people use that line before. And it's been a cover up for something else. So I'm spending time with my family, and it's rain for doing anything but spending time with the family, right? But so far, I think there's nobody has any credible explanation to counter what Scott Gottlieb is saying nobody can say anything that com- confirms. He's not telling the truth, but people are still wondering, you know, did he have some kind of dispute with? With HHS or the Trump administration. Was there some tension going on with congress? Is there another reason that may be sent him running now besides just wanting to spend more time with his family? I think what's especially striking is that in Washington when someone is leaving. There is always going to be scrutiny. There will be rumors flying and in a normal administration. The explanation that I'm leaving because I'm burned out or spending time with family, even that might be more accepted than in the Trump administration where we've seen departures usually out of chaos or scandal. Is there any whiff of scandal that any of us have heard about with Gottlieb? I don't know that there's been any whiff of scandal in the in the Trump era way of it. So, you know, things that are potentially illegal or or that have been unethical. He hasn't asked for a mattress from the Trump hotel. No. And what's interesting, and I think what's really baffling in particular about this resignation. Is that? You know, Scott Gottlieb is one of the most respected. I guess Trump officials from you know, if you talked to either Republicans or Democrats, they'll say about the same thing, and he's largely been, you know, among the least controversial. So the idea that, you know, you have Gottlieb leaving now seemingly abruptly with very little notice raises a lot of questions, and you know, everybody wants to spend more time with their family. I'm sure that's a contributing factor. But it's it's very hard to buy that that is the sole factor. Here's a headline from Bloomberg quote, Donald Trump just lost his most popular bureaucrat, so Gottlieb's popularity and success was was seen across the administration. Let's go back to what some of those contributing factors might be or at least some of the fights that Commissioner in God Leib got into Sarajevo looted to perhaps tension with the hill where the broader administration what what are some of those flash points would have they been so galleys been aggressive and probably almost every area that f. DA can get its hands on. So he's been really proactive and tobacco e cigarettes. And that's probably one of the most controversial areas and FDA Commissioner can strongly regulate and particularly among Republicans. He's also been really big on nutrition policy, contributing or continuing a lot of Obama era policies that weren't always popular with Republicans at the same time. I think he's done things to balance, you know, both sides to peace, both sides, Republicans and Democrats, so maybe on the side of appeasing. The right a bit more. He's done things to try and speed up. Drug approvals created new fast pathways for gene therapy, really made some big changes to the medical device approval process. So that's where a lot of his popularity comes in just a question of whether some of those issues like tobacco have sort of bubbled up enough that they created some kind of tension for him. Can I should say the three of us have spent? So much time since his announcement that he was leaving trying to figure out exactly what those tensions were two of us. Have talked to Gottlieb directly. We've talked to people close to him as well. When you say that tobacco has been a flashpoint for him what specifically has happened with tobacco recently. So Ghalib's been trying to do things one is lower the amount of nicotine in cigarettes. The other big thing is kind of to ban flavors and a lot of tobacco products. Particularly menthol that's been a big key area of controversy. Senator Burs the hill. Republican is not a big fan of that. And then the third thing is e cigarettes to more tightly regulate that and kind of keep it out of the hands of kids of those policies. I think the e cigarette thing gets the most bipartisan buying and public support, particularly if it's targeted just a kids, but he starting to push it a little bit with some of his allies as you get further into other policies, and the tobacco issue has been. Seen by some as a third rail Gottlieb had a meeting at the White House just last week talking about tobacco and other other other issues in the smoking area. I I know I have heard folks who may not have any evidence suggests that there's pressures either from vaping from tobacco caused some of the tension for God leaves departure is there any truth to that. As far as we've been able to report. I mean, I I would think that if if there is truth to it and certainly possible it's not in the traditional Trump administration away where the president gets fed up with somebody or somebody in his inner circle, or you know, that person loses the confidence of of the employee's under him. That's generally kind of what we've seen in the past kind of creating the momentum for somebody to go here. If there's an issue it's in that middle area, you know, it's with Owen be officials with people in HHS. It's that kind of mid-level area that doesn't touch Trump that doesn't touch the, you know, employees where there would be. A problem. Golly is very vehemently on the record denying that. There's any tension in the administration White House over the tobacco products. He's saying that meeting his meetings went fine at a very public event. Do Senator Richard Burr from North Carolina, very recently called golly. About on the floor of congress criticizing him, first Abaco policy. And I mean, he's one Senator perhaps one Senator more powerful than others and tobacco. But like what I was going to say it's Gottlieb Ray publicly said today that before he leaves he was going to finish a lot of his tobacco agenda. So that will be probably interesting and key moment to watch. Right. If he can finish it if the White House in adjust gave him approval to check that box that probably does send a strong message that there wasn't a huge disagreement there and just to jump off on that real real quick. You know, everybody looks at at Richard Burton from North Carolina as. Mainly because he's been the most vocal about this. But I think one thing that I can say with confidence is at Richard Burr is not the Republican Senator that has the ear of the president. You know, there are several senators who talked regularly with Trump who talked regularly with his inner circle Richard Burr is not the guy who's going to go up to the west wing and get somebody fired. Now, Richard Burr has been part of the Senator cadre that has pushed intelligence investigations with Virginia. Senator warner. Yes. And as much as of a conservative s yes, he is not been among the president's staunchest defenders, I guess I should say. And so you may be contributing factor. But I think, you know, Gottlieb's most likely to be believed when he says, look, this was not, you know, the fact that this was not the single factor. That said, I think that there is a case for, you know, it'd being contributing can you being part of maybe a broader, you know, a broader decision where look he's he's on the exits. It's coming up on. Two years everybody that I've talked to and and let me know if you've heard differently, but everybody I've talked to said they only assumed he had four to six months left in the administration. Anyway, the question is what for me what happened over the last seventy two hours that made him decide. This is the day that I'm going to resign. When that's the thing that I don't think that we were clear on yet. And I think what's tough is none of the three of us were in the room. Again, we have talked to people who have been in the room we've talked to gallium directly. And this is the challenge of being a Washington reporter, sometimes the folks that you talk to we'll have incentive to tell you the story that you that that they want you to hear I I want to go back to Gottlieb's track record again thought of very highly by the president publicly embraced by the healthcare industry. And yet there were few flash points recently, the shutdown the federal shutdown really weighed on FDA which had to make constant moves to figure out how it was going to be continuing with rations. There were staff. Some senior staff that Gottlieb wanted to install that. He couldn't interestingly the deputy, Amy Abernathy who just joined the administration could have been onboard even sooner and had more of an overlap if there had not been a shutdown. So I know that that was was attention point. And when you think about the negative stories for the Trump administration during the shutdown that the story about FDA, not doing food inspections, and how massively viral that went the story not not the impact from the lack of inspections as far as we can tell. But but Dow became a flash point for people who opposed to the administration and Trump for shutting down the government one. Interesting thing about Gottlieb. A long ball before the shutdown is he's always been fairly independent. He I don't think he's ever felt like he's had to pander to the White House line. So they've definitely been key instances where he's taken viewpoint that probably isn't a hundred percent where the White House would want to go and in the shutdown the language he was using on social media, very publicly was sending a message that the shutdown was creating problems for the FDA. This was not ideal and politically for the White House. It's a little bit complicated. Right. Have your day Commissioner saying of this whole government shutdown is a terrible idea in the White House is kind of directing it and saying this needs to happen. So we can get our other priorities accomplished. And that's another area. I think people are wondering about like or some of those building tensions something that kind of just lead someone to split. And I I want to take that forward. So Commissioner regard Leib had the power the authority. The skill set where he could go out and set a message around FDA he could push his priorities Adam as he departs success in a month. What does this mean for strategy for the political power structure there and for FDA moving forward at least one political yet? It leaves a lot up in the air. If you think about, you know, some of the priorities that we've we've talked about already especially on on tobacco vaping mental. You know, these are things that only Gottlieb was going to push. These are his his major priorities. And and the main question, I think in in talking with people around the agency and on the hill is there's a major question of I whether those priorities will continue to go forward. And Secondly, you know, who's shepherding those there's still no news on who's going to be acting. Whether the administration wants to nominate somebody to be FDA Commissioner permanently. There's questions around, you know, who even you know could qualify for that job or be up for that job relatively quickly. And on the other hand, you're looking at again, a shift where you have one of the three major agency heads leaving so Gottlieb's leaving that leaves Seema Verma the head of CMS an Alex as are, obviously the the HHS secretary who are now kind of the two senior people there. And I I think it's interesting. It's something we've discussed here is that. There have always been these rumors around, you know, we'll see him Verma leave at some point. When will she leave? It's it's it's ironic number one that that she's still here. And according to the people that I've talked to has no plans to leave anytime soon whatsoever, which I find pretty credible. And Secondly, she in particular seems to be gaining a lot more influence in a lot more power over the last few months, and the reason for that is a few fold anything that the Trump administration wants to accomplish in his next couple of years most likely going to have to be regulation there. Not going to get much by for top Trump priorities from House Democrats. And then Secondly, if you look at the people who have come in and who have left Mark short is now in the White House, a key Seema Verma ally. Andrew Bromberg who often clashed with Seema Verma is now gone replaced by Joe Rogan DPC domestic policy the domestic politics, which is this key policy center in the White House. Exactly. And these are the people who are are essentially setting the agenda health policy was in addition to as our, and that's not to say that as has lost any influence, but those two have worked well together. And if you're looking for, you know, any kind of focus shifting I I would I would say look at what firm has wanted to do look at what as has wanted to do. That's where the focus is. Now. I two thought it was really interesting that Seema Verma who has been at war with advocates in her field who have said that the policies administrator Verma has advanced are harming Medicaid could harm Medicare the the head of. Backpack. The advisory council warned Seema Verma recently. There was an exchange of some unusual letters between her in that panel. So I to pointed out at the interesting parallel that administrator Verma who has been rumored to leave what four serious times in the past two years. We've heard of her departure she is going to outlast Scott Gottlieb. And I pointed that out on Twitter and administrator Verma tweeted or whoever Manser account that that was not notable. She said what's actually notables the work Commissioner and Gaul even I have done to lower drug prices and drive innovation our healthcare system and straighter. Straighter for that Gottlieb in Burma got along very well. And we're working on things, you know, in in the drug pricing realm. I think is worth pointing out is to my understanding, Scott, leaps tenure at the FDA is actually pretty typical in terms of the amount of time and FDA Commissioner usually spends the job there've been a few exceptions where we had people overstay two two and a half years. But that's another thing to think about just that these are hard jobs, whether you're family lives locally or not oftentimes people take big pay cuts to come into these jobs. So there's also just reason to think this is sort of typical of big jobs in DC that people often don't spend a whole presidency in them. And maybe that's part of it. You could argue that God leap has been the most typical appointee in some ways he didn't attract negative headlines. He was closely working with his industry, and now perhaps his departure will follow somewhat of a typical path. I one last question here, which is about what this means for congress and its relationship with chick shos Ademir up on the hill. Allot does God leaves departure change that dynamic? This is this is a question. I was posing to a few people today if anything it it seems to hurt any kind of relationship between health agency and the administration and House Democrats. So you have to remember first of all House Democrats have the power to investigate, you know, the various parts of the Trump administration, and they've they've vowed to do so aggressively, but in talking with, you know, people who work on the healthcare side, they've said, look, we know we can talk. We've always known we can work with and talk with Scott Gottlieb can do the same with as are. But to a lesser extent losing godly means there is a major loss of a go-between between Democrats and the administration, and the first thing that does is it it kind of leaves a vacuum there. Right. So if you're a House Democrat and say, I want to talk about drug pricing. I wanna talk about. FDA stuff. Now, who do you go to to try and figure out a bipartisan way forward? And then Secondly on the investigation side. This kind of re removes you potential person that that, you know, Democrats could say, well, maybe we'll will back off a little bit on the investigation because we wanna make sure that we can preserve our relationship with God. Leap to this point. I asked a democrat today, you know, who's a natural point person. What does this mean for the investigations who do you work within and they wouldn't say much, but they did they did joke. You know, what you don't think we can we can work with Seema Verma. And it's and the context being look if there's anybody that they have not felt like they've been able to get along with it is Seema Verma and men to a lesser extent. As our and losing Gottlieb means there's there's no kind of buffer there anymore. Scott Gottlieb is personal ball. He has a personality. That's a track did people to him on all sides of the aisle all parts of industry, and he's a really really skilled communicator, most FDA commissioners have not been so public and so great at that. And that's going to be a huge loss for FDA. It wants to move its mission forward and clearly as Adams saying it could have broader ramifications for all of HHS because he filled such an important role where he could get buy in from two competing political parties. And I would also argue that if you look at the areas of compromise that are available in the health sphere. It is almost always almost completely in the in the FDA realm on things around ObamaCare, you're not going to get much compromise on things around, Medicaid and Medicaid work requirements. No compromise there. But when you're talking about, you know, drugs getting generics to market faster. Those are areas that that we've seen some kind of bipartisan progress. So that's another main question that we'll have to kind of see how his answered going forward is you know, who picks up that mantle and how does that relationship develop? And we will see how your stories evolve going forward how congress is working with FDA and how FDA evolves, Adam, Sarah, thanks so much for joining the podcast. Thanks to then fun. Hey, it's Dan diamond. And if you like learning about the politics and policies around HHS, you don't have to wait for pulse. Check just sign up for a free subscription of our newsletter. Politico pulse. Good a politico dot com slash politico. Pulse. You'll get the newsletter at ten AM or pro subscribers. Get it at six AM. If you're interested in either good, politico dot com slash politico. Pulse. For more information and to sign up and now back to our conversation. About Scott Gottlieb with my colleagues Sarah over ball and Alina bottom Miller eve, which. Now, I'm joined by two other colleagues first Halina bottom Miller, Yvette our senior food and agriculture reporter. Hello, Helene, Halina high and Sarah over mall for farmer reporter back yet again, and your your names, it's like the pronunciation Olympics. So we just talked about the politics of Scott. Leaps departure. I wanted to spend the next fifteen or twenty minutes talking about the policies that he put into place at FDA when you were thinking about all the different initiatives that he pushed white is the signature one that stands out, Sarah you cover pharma. Lena, you're here because it's the food and Drug administration you cover food and nutrition. Why don't we start the with the drug issues? And and what what grabs you sir about his legacy and the signature initiative there were so many different things both for drugs and devices. But I think if you had to sum them all up, it'd be about modernizing the space, whether it was issuing guidance that would acknowledge the way that technology. And cyber security threats played a role or is you've got instant made the drug trial process. More efficient and easy to incorporate real world real world data into it that wasn't happening under the Obama administration. I think one of the things that was significant about what Gottlieb was doing under. The Trump administration was was really the way that he incorporated or was trying to incorporate real world data because that has really just in the past few years become a more significant player in the drug space as far as medical devices. He really was adapting to the time in the scrutiny that has been placed on devices and some of the safety concerns that have come out lately is their device a drug that that Gottlieb shepherded through that historically was not able to make it through FDA. I don't know about not able to make it. But he led the agency when some drugs came to market that are really first of their kind regenerative medicine so cart T therapies cell Therapy's. And the first gene therapy was. Approved under his leadership, and he published framework for how more of those therapies can be developed and come to market. So he's definitely was leading FDA during a very very exciting time for science and drugs. You know, what was the signature initiative on the food nutrition side? So I think the two things looking back will will Mark Gottlieb's legacy is implementing two major Obama nutrition policies. The I would be keeping the update to nutrition facts labels, which was something very important to former first lady Michelle Obama, and there was a bit of controversy during the Obama administration when they mandated that those updated labels would have to include added sugars disclosure, so actually a lot of consumers now are seeing those labels. They've been slowly rolled out. And certainly when this administration came to power there was an opportunity to. Delay that further to scrap it to redo it. There could have been all manner of disruptions to that policy. But he decided to keep it on track. And my understanding as someone who only dabbles in the food and nutrition news is that industry was very opposed. They were. Yeah. That really felt that the added sugars label in particular wasn't backed by science was, you know, a bridge too far. So there was that. And then also menu labeling. So when you see calories being posted on those menus of chain restaurants, and this has been implemented nationwide. It's was actually something buried in ObamaCare that or the Affordable Care Act that everyone kind of forgot about took years to implement and that finally took effect last spring and the Commissioner took a lot of heat for pushing that policy to the finish line. Even though there were parts of particularly retail and pizza chains that were very opposed to that. And those are two I think very visible markers of of legacy that that we're gonna see for a long time. So I- cheated a little on this question because I asked Commissioner and Gottlieb directly today. When what do you think is your legacy at FDA if you had to pick one thing and that was hard because he can. Yes. But he said he was proud of changing the culture on. Opioids certainly golly has been out stressing things that in the past FDA might have done to contribute to the opioid epidemic and walking back from that. He said there's a different way of thinking around opiates. But if I had my druthers, I actually think that I should probably not have used the word brothers. But if I had my pick of a legacy that that he is memorable on that. He is so different. It's how he shaved media strategy for FDA. I can't remember a time that any health agency got this much positive press. A lot of that goes back to him. He could teach a masterclass, and they're there to tactics that I thought he was particularly good at one was knowing how to spread nuggets between all the different publications. So there would be a New York Times story on say opioids or modern healthcare on some story that would be relevant to that readership and that not only ensures positive coverage. But it really forces us like kids chasing a soccer ball to do. Those follows. Stories those match stories even his resignation news all three of us know when when that news dropped we spent the next number of hours trying to confirm it and then have to follow that story. And then I think the second thing that he was really good at was understanding that the more accessible a government official is usually the the better the coverages, but the stories will be smarter. If I can call Commissioner Gottlieb directly and get his comment. That's usually better than having something work through telephone. And Secondly, the more they're talking and responding and appearing at speeches and making their calendars public, the less time all of us have to snoop around and try to figure out what's going on behind the scenes, and I speak from experience here. When officials wall themselves off that sometimes can lead to the most investigative stories because there's nothing else to write about. In terms of his opioid legacy. How do you think? Sarah, the Gottlieb era will be remembered. Well, first of all completely agree on his accessibility. I think it was most noted even during the shutdown when he was talking almost daily about how they were working and providing morale to furloughed employee's. But yes on opioids that's really interesting because Lena, and I were actually just speaking with him earlier and went underlined actually how we're super three of us have talked to the FDA Commissioner in the past twenty four hours. Did that ever happen in your old days covering FDA? Absolutely. Not it used to be really hard to get even statements basic questions answered on certain topics, and that has completely changed completely changed hundred hundred eighty degrees. Right. Absolutely. And I think one of the reasons I mean, he always has been accessible, but one of the reasons he really wanted to talk today was just just the things that are still going according to plan, and he did specifically bring up his opioid plan an assurance that all of this. This really sweeping proposal that they have to reform opioid reviews. An oversight and safety issues is still going to be on track for two thousand nineteen goals, including requiring blister packs vote for opioids and post marketing studies to see addiction risks. He will really did want to stress that is absolutely still in implementation. Even when he's not there, and I want to add one thing to the to the media strategy because I think the other noticeable thing that maybe the members of the public aren't as. Is aware of is just how many statements Commissioner? Golly put out, and you know, just on on everything. I mean every day multiple statements every week just, you know, you could go back, and look your inbox flooded, very unusual in some of these statements. I think he mentioned the opioid statement was forty five hundred words this long, yes, willing, so you had to read the whole thing, you know, sometimes there were little nuggets buried in there and just that level of communication totally different than any other FDA. I've covered what's an initiative, maybe an overlooked one that Ghali oversaw. He was remarkably busy. I mean, the reason they're sending all those statements to our inboxes was it felt like FDA was announcing something new all the time. Halina was was there one that thinking back was particularly interesting or different that he pursued one of the things early that I found really interesting is the Commissioner said that FDA had found money to do a consumer education campaign ran nutrition. It wasn't a ton of money. I think it was going to be a few more. Dollars. But this was kind of unique. I mean, even when they rolled out the first nutrition facts label in the mid nineties. There wasn't a budget to market that it was really reliant on free media. That's not traditionally been something FDA does. So it was a kind of novel approach the fact that that was a priority. And that it was a nugget that he would share with the media. It was something he was looking at that was part of a broader nutrition strategy that he laid out last year that didn't get a ton of attention because attrition policy tends to not be this like major mainstream issue, but was really novel. And I think surprised a lot of people almond milk and milk strategy. Did did win a lot of attention. And we don't let Allman doesn't lactate that is the the the you can buy t-shirts now with that that certainly was one of his most probably has most viral moment, it got an onion article. Yeah. It was on the late show. Someone used to in their wedding vows. When when the onion is parodying, people aren't sure whether it's true or false. And on that note, we don't know what's going to happen on that issue because that got a lot of attention, you know, in popular culture, but dairy producers really want FDA to crack down on use of the term almond milk, and soy milk, and you know, cash cashew cheese. So that's a big question. That is an unfinished and unfinished item, Utah Republican Mike Lee recently made the statement that that a lot of this is unnecessary. Someone like me who goes in buys almond milk or coconut milk. We we don't need the milk part is irrelevant. The reason we're buying these things is because it's not dairy milk, and that is widely known. So that this is a controversy that didn't need to exist. Well, the dairy industry would argue that you're not getting as much calcium and vitamin d from your cashew, Melker, whatever. So maybe consumers are confused. This is something that's going to be hotly debated. And it's definitely an unfinished piece of business. Speaking of unfinished business as we sit here. Twenty four hours. Or so after ABS news broke that he was leaving. Do we know who's going to lead the agency? No. And we talked a bit about this on on our last panel. But I'm curious Selena, you've tracked FDA for a long time. Is there even a shortlist for who the person is going to be running FDA after he departs? So normally we would look to deputy Commissioner role, Amy Abernathy. I think I'm saying her name right is a new deputy Commissioner our principal deputy Commissioner, but she hasn't been at the agency very long and neither has another deputy Commissioner. I'm more familiar with Frank Jaanus who works on food policy and response that's a new title. And neither of them have been at the agency. I don't think long enough to qualify to be acting Commissioner. And so we're not sure we asked the still current Commissioner about this today, and we did not get a response. So it is an unknown something that I think a lot of reporters in Washington are going to be bugging them about. I'd I'd love to see the internal trials of who wants to be the neck. FDA commissioner. They me running is there is there any expectation that any policies are going to drop in the next few weeks that will serve as Gottlieb's kind of farewell at FDA some signature effort is trying to get over the hump, sir. Carlin. Smith is on the first panel did mention something about tobacco, right? Yes. So that is definitely one of his biggest priorities. He has a plan to significantly curb e cigarette sales specifically in convenience stores that he already essentially unveiled in November. But he presented last week at the White House that plan he has assured us he is very confident in his words. He said he's very confident that that is going to go through very soon. He has every intention of finishing that up while he's here what he won't be able to finalise in his last month is broader tobacco reform, so specifically banning menthol cigarettes and all flavors in cigars, which are both proposals. That are in the draft form right now, and that he's very passionate about. But he just doesn't have the time to make them go through. He went speaking with us earlier was very aware. How controversial those are. And said, you know, he doesn't know what's going to happen in the next few months or with the next Commissioner, but he thinks that he's laid the groundwork for those to survive so on on the food side. I mentioned, you know, dairy labeling. This is an open question. We don't know what's going to happen with this consumer education plan or really the broader nutrition strategy that they've laid out part of what they wanna do. There is updates some archaic food labelling standards, and you know, one of the commissioners points on this is that if you updated some of these old regulations, you could spur more innovation in the food sector that might help combat diet related disease and help people encourage them to eat healthier. There's also this question of whether or not the FDA will keep working on sodium reduction targets that are voluntary for the food industry. But are quite controversial. They were first proposed under the Obama administration. And he has said that you know, that they going to continue working on. On them. But it remains a question under a different Commissioner. Will there be kind of the political cover to do something? That's more controversial down the line. And I I want to take it to my last question, which is on this legacy of what comes after Scott Gottlieb. Did he permanently changed the agency? Or is it going to snap back could Donald Trump pick someone from Silicon Valley who has a very different view and FDA which was one of the prevailing theories a couple years ago that that Peter Thiel acolyte, the the venture capitalists who supported Trump and his campaign wanted to put someone in who didn't believe in regulating drugs and devices, so could FDA go back to the FDA that we are so familiar with or or is there a legacy here that some of these things are just built so deep now after two years, they're not going to get shaken why the ways it might snap back on the communication side. Who knows but on drugs you as a good point about regulation. I don't think that anybody on either side of the aisle. Saw what Gottlieb was doing? The plans that he put in place even the in finished ones as necessarily controversial. They were really more aware of and adapting to current realities in the drug space and and things like speeding up clinical trials or making the data from it more accessible to other people. I don't really see someone even someone from silicone valley or even especially so in from Silicon Valley trying to rewrite that legacy. And so I think especially in the drug and device space that is safe tobacco is a big open question. And then there's other open questions that Helene, and I have worked on together like cannabis knol, and what the future is for that. Because he just started on that project guts CBD. Oils that are now circulating as like pain relievers and other things that are largely unregulated. Yes. And the FDA last year late last year told congress that it's technically has the authority to regulate those drugs, but that leaves all these dietary supplements that Halina would know more about with her space kind of in limbo or even putting it in beverages. These questions about you know, the last farm Bill Leeb legalized hemp and one of the most lucrative things. You can make hemp CBD. And can you add that to foods and supplements right now shampoo got a pinch for that a pet food is the thing also. So that's a whole wild west area where they're going to have to draw up some some ground rules for figuring out how that's all going to work without I guess infringing on the pharma side, which I've gotten a little bit of a crash course on recently. I think on the food side, what will be interesting less so on whether or not certain controversial policies can advance is whether or not the next Commissioner is even interested in food and talking about food policy as. Much as golly was because that was really what surprise people a lot of times most times FDA commissioners, come from us more medical background, which makes sense considering their portfolio of issues, it's a really broad portfolio. And if you do not have a medical background or. It's usually Trump might go outside that that path concerning. Yeah, I talked to someone today. And they were like, you know, the doctors who get there are always surprised at how interesting food issues are right. Because it's not it tends to not be their wheelhouse. When we look at who's going to be on the shortlist. I'll certainly look all of them up. But I can almost guarantee you none of them. We'll have a record. And we didn't expect Gottlieb to be as vocal on food. Is he has been one legacy point that I'm I'm curious to see if it persists is. How Scott Gottlieb who a few years ago would have been seen as a non-starter for this kind of ministration job by Democrats at least because of his financial entanglements. They quickly ran and embraced him. When some of the less traditional candidates from Silicon Valley were being put forward and Gottlieb dot confirmed. And then was quickly in embraced by Democrats who liked to style his strategy and the policies who's putting forward. Peter zog. The former Obama budget official was on this podcast few months ago, saying that the success of doc. Golly. And also HHS secretary as our has given him cause to rethink whether there should be more people coming from industry into government, historically, that has not been a democratic the the Democrats haven't really put forward industry, folks. They look more for researchers academics career government types. Not people were coming off Wall Street to run big healthcare organizations. So I'm curious to see if if this is just an artifact of the Trump administration, or if Democrats will have a new broader approach to who they think should fill these kind of regulatory rules. It's an interesting that's an interesting observation, but I've got Lebed did have a fairly lengthy track record at FDA. So I think going in and out of the think tank rolled FDA industry, the venture capital world, probably gave him a broader view sort of the wider landscape that is a little bit different than someone who would, you know, come straight out of the private sector. But I don't know that even if you've got someone. Random out of industry that they're going to have that aggressive communication strategy. I think to your point earlier that is probably going to be a unique characteristic of this tenure, I think we should underline. It Scott Gottlieb was one of a kind. We are. We are not expecting another FDA Commissioner with his set of skills as calms approach his initiative. He also very notably was one of the only if not the only FDA Commissioner talk directly about drug pricing, which of course, is a pet project of President Trump. And so I think back to that industry point he did really strike a balance on trying to protect the incentives that would keep industry, you know, engaged in developing new and life saving technologies, but also is not afraid to talk very directly about what they needed to do into shame them when they were doing things that you kept generic or cheaper medicines away from people, and he was able to blend because he was a former chick show sufficient during the George W Bush administration. He was able to blend the regulatory background with the industry knowledge. And then say look guys I've been in your shoes. I get it. But this is why we need to move where Trump wants us to go. Well, I guess we will see who inherits those very big shoes of Scott collie Polina, Sarah. Thanks so much for joining the podcast. Thanks. Thanks. That's it for pulse. Check this week. My thanks to all my colleagues, sir over m- all star Carlin Smith, we bottom Miller eve, Adam Cancun. And of course, Michaela Rodriguez produced the show, if you like political pulse. Check, you can find it on your favorite podcast app. Please rate and review us. They're confined me at Di diamond politico dot com by Email, and you can find a new episode of politico pulse. Check in your podcast player next week.

Coming up next