Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb joins Pfizer’s board of directors

Health, Fitness & Food

Former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb speaking at the Healthy Returns conference in New York City on May 21, 2019.

Astrid Stawiarz | CNBC

Scott Gottlieb, who stepped down as Food and Drug Administration Commissioner in April, will join Pfizer‘s board of directors, the company announced Thursday.

Gottlieb resigned from the agency this spring after nearly two years at the helm. During his tenure, Gottlieb advanced a number of prescription drug policies, including to push the FDA to speed up generic drug approvals and use its powers to encourage wider use of biosimilars, or copycat versions of complex and often costly biologic drugs. 

Biosimilar manufactures, including Pfizer, have complained about roadblocks stalling biosimilars from becoming widely used. Having Gottlieb to advise the company could help Pfizer, one of the largest biopharmaceutical companies, navigate the regulatory landscape.  

“We are fortunate to have Dr. Gottlieb join Pfizer’s Board of Directors,” Pfizer Executive Chairman and former CEO Ian Read said in a statement. “Scott’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.”

CEO Albert Bourla, who succeeded Ian Read on Jan. 1, shuffled the company’s senior management team last year and is leading the efforts to restructure the pharmaceutical giant into a more nimble company. Pfizer announced plans last July to reorganize into three units, separating its consumer health-care business that it had been trying to sell.

Since leaving the FDA, Gottlieb has returned to the American Enterprise Institute as a resident fellow and as a special partner at venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates, where he worked before joining the FDA. He also joined CNBC as a contributor.

Disclosure: Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC contributor.

-CNBC’s Berkeley Lovelace Jr. contributed to this report

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