We’ve been seeing some mean moves lately. Someone appointed to a high government post by President Trump states a position that is then undermined by the Commander-in-Chief. The appointee has to backtrack—picture Michael Jackson doing his moonwalk. Or, Trump steps first, stating a position that many in Congress, and a lot of other places, find untenable. The appointee has to either defend the position or dance away.
Yesterday, it was Scott Gottlieb’s turn to dance. The new head of the FDA was grilled by a House appropriations subcommittee about the president’s budget, which ends how the agency reviewed drugs and medical devices for that past 25 years, according to STAT.
“Under current law, [drug] companies pay user fees in exchange for product reviews, funding about two-thirds of the FDA’s budget for vetting drugs and devices,” STAT reports. “Now, in an effort to curtail federal spending, the White House wants to saddle the industry with the entire cost of product reviews, which would spell a roughly 70% increase in user fees.”
Problem is, STAT reports, Congress, the industry, and the FDA spent the last two years negotiating the new user fee.
STAT: “Trump’s proposal would mean beginning that process anew, and that’s a dangerous proposition, lawmakers said. If Congress doesn’t have an agreement in place by July, the FDA would be forced to enact crippling furloughs that could derail its goals.”
Here’s what Gottlieb told the House subcommittee: “As you know, I wasn’t involved in the formulation of the budget. As the new commissioner of the agency, I’m going to do everything I can to work with the administration — and in particular work with Congress and this committee — to make sure that the agency has the resources it needs to fulfill its mission.”