Regulation & Legislation

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb Resigns

Agency chief instrumental in crackdowns on vaping, flavored cigarettes and menu labeling
scott gottlieb
Photograph: Shutterstock

SILVER SPRING, Md. -- U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has resigned. Gottlieb, who has been instrumental in cracking down on vaping across the United States, reportedly will exit the FDA next month.

Gottlieb is stepping down to spend more time with his family, an administration official told The Washington Post. Since 2017, Gottlieb has been commuting weekly to Washington, D.C., from his home in Westport, Conn., the report said.

During his time as FDA commissioner, Gottlieb advanced assertive polices related to youth e-cigarette usage and bans on menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. In January, Gottlieb said the tobacco category will face an “existential threat” if youth smoking and vaping rates continue to rise.

After Donald Trump signed the Farm Bill in December, which legalized the growing and processing of industrial hemp, the FDA was also saddled with regulating a burgeoning hemp-derived CBD market. “(The) increasing public interest in these products makes it even more important with the passage of this law for the FDA to clarify its regulatory authority,” Gottlieb said in December. “We treat products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds as we do any other FDA-regulated products, meaning they’re subject to the same authorities and requirements.”

Gottlieb's exit leaves open the question of how regulation of such products will proceed in the future.

Under Gottlieb, the FDA finalized its menu labeling rules, requiring foodservice operators to share calorie counts and other nutritional information for standard menu items and self-serve foods. The rules were pushed back several times before taking effect last May, and some compliance details remain unclear.

President Donald Trump praised the commissioner for his efforts. “Scott has helped us to lower drug prices, get a record number of generic drugs approved and onto the market, and so many other things,” Trump tweeted Tuesday. “He and his talents will be greatly missed!”

Before his career in government, Gottlieb was a physician, medical policy expert and public health advocate. In the agency, he also held positions as senior adviser to the FDA commissioner and deputy commissioner for medical and scientific affairs.

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