Cue the 'revolving door' criticism: Former FDA commissioner Gottlieb joins Pfizer's board

Scott Gottlieb FDA
Scott Gottlieb served as FDA commissioner from May 2017 to April 2019. (FDA)

When former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., resigned back in March, he said he wanted to spend more time with his family.

Since then, Gottlieb has nabbed a partnership at a VC firm and a think tank fellowship. And now, less than three months since his last day regulating pharma, Gottlieb has joined Pfizer, one of the biggest companies in the business.

Gottlieb snagged a spot on Pfizer's board of directors, the drug giant said Thursday. He'll also serve on the board's regulatory and compliance committee and its science and technology committee.

The announcement comes 85 days after Gottlieb left the FDA on April 5 to spend more time with his family. In his resignation letter to colleagues, Gottlieb wrote that “there’s nothing that could pull me away from this role other than the challenge of being apart from my family for these past two years and missing my wife and two young children."

RELATED: FDA chief Scott Gottlieb steps down, leaving pet projects behind 

Since leaving the FDA, Gottlieb joined New Enterprise Associates as a special partner. He’s also a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, according to Pfizer.

While the new roles surely aren't as demanding as FDA commissioner, Gottlieb’s quick jump back to industry is sure to raise eyebrows. He was arguably among the most popular Trump appointments as agency chief, but his quick leap back to industry conflicts with President Donald Trump’s campaign pledge to “drain the swamp” and fight corporate influence in Washington.  

Pfizer Executive Chairman Ian Read said Gottlieb’s “expertise in health care, public policy and the industry will be an asset to our company and enable our shareholders to continue to benefit from a board representing a balance of experience, competencies and perspectives.”

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