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FDA Nominee Too Close To The Pharmaceutical Industry, Democrats Say [VIDEO]

Update Date: Apr 06, 2017 07:59 AM EDT

Democrats in the US Senate are bristling over President Donald Trump's nomination of Dr. Scott Gottlieb to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Senators Edward Markey (Mass.) and Sherrod Brown (Ohio) believe that Dr. Gottlieb is too close to the pharmaceutical industry that is responsible for the opioid epidemic in the United States.

The nomination hearing will be conducted by the powerful Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. They will decide the fate of Dr. Gottlieb who has previously served in the FDA as an assistant commissioner during the term of George W. Bush. He has also served as a consultant to GlaxoSmithKline and Bristol -Myers Squibb, two of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, The Hill reported.

Dr. Gottlieb tried to allay fears of the Democrats by saying that he will let go of his interests in the industry within 90 days after his confirmation and abstain from matters involving those firms for a year. Despite these pronouncements, critics still believe he is too close to the pharmaceutical industry as his relationships with several companies lasted for decades. The senators believe he was complicit in allowing the same companies to rush approval of drugs which include the highly addictive opioids, the Forbes reported.

The resistance to his appointment stems from Dr. Gottlieb's opposition to the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies. This agreement with the FDA requires manufacturers to restrict how doctors can use a certain drug. But in his opinion, neither the FDA nor the manufacturers have the authority over doctors to do so. He had also disputed the Drug Enforcement Agency's authority to regulate opioids in 2012.

The US is now in the midst of an opioid epidemic where around 2 million Americans suffer from effects of addiction to opioid pain relievers and opioid analgesics. The addiction is believed to have primarily come from unwarranted prescriptions of these drugs.

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