O’Neill’s Supporters Argue That He, Rather Than Gottlieb, Is the Right Man to Head the FDA

This might not be the Thrilla in Manila, but the battle between the supporters of Jim O’Neill and Scott Gottlieb over who should be nominated to run the FDA certainly seems to be heating up.

Yesterday, we reported that Gottlieb’s star seems to be rising. Today, the news is that O’Neill’s supporters are pushing back against the caricature of him being a radical with—whirligigish—and even dangerous ideas, according to STAT Plus.

Some of O’Neill’s ideas include allowing drug companies to simply prove that drugs are safe before they’re put on the market—not that they actually work. Also, he’s for people being allowed to sell their organs. O’Neill, a libertarian, is also on the board of the Seasteading Institute, an organization that wants to create floating city states, because existing governments are too cumbersome and ineffective.

The story is chockfull of quotes from supporters who did not wished to be named. (Take that for what it’s worth.)

A former coworker: “He’s a very smart intellectual, a big thinker. We used to have lots of political discussions.”

A Democrat who used to work closely with O’Neill at HHS: “He was the only person there who would talk to me. He treated me well. ”

On the other hand, Jerome Avorn, MD, a professor at Harvard Medical School, spoke on the record to STAT Plus. He’s not an O’Neill fan. “I think it is appalling to consider somebody to run the FDA who has so little scientific background, and who advocates the completely zany idea that the FDA should just check drugs out to make sure they’re not dangerous and then let the marketplace decide what works.”

Source: STAT Plus (registration required)