New York Times, May 9, 2017
Katie Thomas

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The Senate voted 57 to 42 on Tuesday to confirm Dr. Scott Gottlieb as commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, where he will be responsible for regulating drug companies to which he has had close ties in recent years.

Dr. Gottlieb, 44, has promised to divest himself from several health care companies and recuse himself for one year from decisions involving those businesses, but that was not enough for many Democratic senators, including Patty Murray of Washington.

“He has not convinced me he can withstand political pressure from this administration, or that he will be truly committed to putting our families’ health first,” Ms. Murray said during the debate before Tuesday’s vote. “I’ve grown increasingly concerned about whether he can lead the F.D.A. in an unbiased way, given his unprecedented industry ties.”

In a statement, Tom Price, the health and human services secretary, said Dr. Gottlieb’s “background will be crucial” for maintaining the F.D.A.’s high standards for safe treatments “while advancing new, innovative solutions” to the nation’s public health challenges. [...]

biotechnology fda food innovation medical safety pharmaceuticals public health regulation