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Monday, March 13, 2017

Gottlieb to FDA

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the role of the Food and Drug Administration in fighting autism quackery.

Trump has nominated Dr. Scott Gottlieb to head FDA.  He has close ties to the drug industry.  He is also pro-vaccine.  In December, Orac wrote:
As bad as I find the potential pick of Dr. Gottlieb to run the FDA (albeit not as bad as Jim O’Neill would be), there is one good thing about it, and that’s the schadenfreude I’m feeling with respect to antivaccine activists and quacks. Why schadenfreude? Easy. From early on, antivaccine loons recognized Donald Trump as one of their own because he is. He has a long, sordid history of antivaccine nonsense about “monster shots” causing autism and buying into the “too many too soon” trope. It was even revealed just before the election by an antivaccine blogger who couldn’t keep her mouth shut, metaphorically speaking, that Donald Trump had met with antivaccine “hero” Andrew Wakefield in August in Florida. As a result, antivaccine activists had high hopes for a Trump presidency, with that same blogger who couldn’t keep her mouth shut before the election even going so far as to post an open letter containing a wish list of what antivaccinationists would like to see from Trump after he becomes President. Although, the FDA wasn’t mentioned, I can’t help but wonder what antivaccine contingent would think of Scott Gottlieb as the FDA Commissioner.
Donald Trump is considering someone who thinks that thimerosal should have been used in order to be able to manufacture multi-dose vials. There’s a lot more, though. I found lots of pro-vaccine articles either by Gottlieb or in which he is quoted. As much as I dislike his ties to pharma and his anti-regulatory tendencies, including with respect to vaccines, and don’t want him to be FDA Commissioner, he definitely comes down on the right side of science with respect to antivaccine pseudoscience and vaccine safety.
I saved the best for last, though. Let’s just say that I want to twist the knife a bit, and this article’s title alone should be enough to do that, Case closed on vaccine-autism debate: Doctor. The doctor? Dr. Gottlieb: