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FDA nominee says nation’s opioid crisis is as serious as Ebola, Zika threats

Scott Gottlieb, the physician and entrepreneur who is President Trump’s nominee to head the Food and Drug Administration, told senators Wednesday that the nation’s opioid crisis is a “public health emergency on the order of Ebola and Zika” and requires dramatic action by the agency and the rest of government.

During the hearing, he was questioned on a variety of issues, including vaccine safety. Trump has repeatedly suggested that there is a link between vaccines and autism — a widely discredited theory.

Gottlieb said the purported vaccines-autism link has been “one of the most exhaustively studied questions” in scientific history. Now, he said, “We need to come to the point where we can accept no for an answer and come to the conclusion that there is no causal link between vaccination and autism.”

His comments on opioids came a day after two Democratic senators whose states have been ravaged by prescription painkillers — Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts and Sherrod Brown of Ohio — came out in opposition to his nomination. Both argued that Gottlieb’s record, as well as his extensive writings on FDA issues, suggested that he didn’t support using the necessary tools to fight the epidemic.

In particular, they criticized a 2012 article in which he questioned the Drug Enforcement Administration’s efforts to police opioids. He wrote that the DEA’s approach was “burdening a lot of innocent patients” and suggested that some of its responsibilities be turned over to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Source: The Washington Post
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