FDA chief Gottlieb to resign

Scott Gottlieb tweet

Scott Gottlieb tweet

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is stepping down in the middle of his fight against "epidemic" teen e-cigarette use, Health and Human Services Sec.

The 46-year-old millionaire physician, who has survived Hodgkin's lymphoma, said he wants to spend more time with his wife and three young daughters - a nine-year-old and twin five-year-olds - at their home in CT, rather than constantly commuting to Washington, DC. Gottlieb, 46, had grown exhausted from a long commute each week back and forth to CT, according to the person, and he felt like he'd set in motion many of his goals on drug costs and e-cigarettes.

FDA approvals for first-of-a-kind drugs and devices hit all-time highs past year.

'Scott has helped us to lower drug prices, get a record number of generic drugs approved and onto the market, and so many other things.

Following news of Gottlieb's resignation, the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index turned negative. He expressed concern over the rise in the number of youths using flavored e-cigarettes after preliminary federal data showed teenage use had surged by more than 75 percent since past year, which the FDA described as an "epidemic". After initially favoring e-cigarettes and vaping devices as a way to help smokers quit, the agency became alarmed by a sudden rise in youth use.

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Tobacco-company stocks briefly jumped higher, a signal that some investors see Gottlieb's departure as a possible opening for a more relaxed regulatory regime.

Shares of several companies regulated by the FDA, including cigarette makers Altria Group Inc.

Gottlieb has submitted his paperwork for resignation, "but he will be on for at least another month", an administration official told CBS News. He said the FDA had expanded access to lifesaving drugs for patients with terminal illness on his watch.

Moving forward. While Gottlieb's plans for the FDA are officially still in place, the advancement and enforcement of his initiatives will rest with the agency's next chief, and there's no guarantee his replacement will pursue them. While the FDA has taken steps against the vaping industry, including tightening restrictions on e-cigarette sales in convenience stores, it's unclear whether they will be enough to reverse the trend. "He has been an exemplary public health leader, aggressive advocate for American patients, and passionate promoter of innovation".

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