Nominee to head FDA joined effort to get a drug company more fentanyl

Scott Gottlieb, the Trump administration's nominee to head FDA, in 2006 joined other agency officials who tried to help a pharmaceutical company secure more fentanyl for a powerful opioid analgesic product.

Scott Gottlieb, the Trump administration's nominee to head FDA, in 2006 joined other agency officials who tried to help a pharmaceutical company secure more fentanyl for a powerful opioid analgesic product. The company, Cephalon, was running short of the opioid it put in a lollipop designed for the intense pain of some cancer patients; but it was also under investigation at the time for illegally urging doctors to prescribe the drug for other uses, from headaches to back pain. Critics contend Gottlieb's participation in the episode demonstrates the kind of friendly relationship with the pharmaceutical industry that they fear he will create at FDA if he is confirmed. Sheldon Bradshaw, a former FDA attorney, said Gottlieb's role was minimal—confined to a meeting of FDA and DEA officials on December 8, 2006, and only because protocol called for a deputy commissioner to be present given the participation of similarly high-level DEA representatives. It is unclear whether Gottlieb or the other officials were aware of FDA's investigation of Cephalon at the time they met with DEA. Gottlieb has said he will recuse himself from agency decisions for a year involving more than 20 companies he has worked for, invested in, or had some other kind of financial relationship with.