Posted by: Audrey Erbes | March 12, 2017

FDA Commissioner Picked by Trump and Trumpcare Faces Problems with Passage

FDA Commissioner Pick Preferred to Other Potential Candidates

In “Stand Up For Science” written by Steve Usdin, Washington Editor, BioCentury this week, we learn how little the industry has done to speak up for value of science and sense. Some of the Trump Administration’s potential candidates alongside talk of totally upending the proven drug approval system were met with chagrin by many and still pose very serious risks even with the appointment of Scott Gottlieb, a past conservative high-level employee of the FDA under the George W. Bush administration and supporter of deregulation. He is expected to be approved but industry is still not out of the woods from crazy thinking by the cost slashing army of Trump and far-right anti-science politicians. The agency still faces potential budget reductions and political attacks on the wisdom and decision-making of the agency’s professionals.  Steve Usdin advises “The Risks Are That Two Decades Of Progress Toward More Efficient, Science-Based Regulation Would Stop” and be replaced with approval of drugs with only Phase I studies and market force controlled review alone.

Usdin reports that the industry abdicated its responsibility to be involved in stating the “criteria for an acceptable FDA commissioner, to commit itself to rally support for any nominee who meets those criteria and to adamantly oppose one who falls short.” Rather they remained silent and sat on the sidelines. So far we are lucky with Gottlieb who is still viewed as too close to industry due to his venture capital history but at least he is physician with agency experience. Note that his approval is not assured as Trump listens to Peter Thiel who recommended a poorly qualified candidate for the job, Jim O’Neill. (

Now Trumpcare Has Arrived, Is It Passable? 

The Republican American Health Care Act known as Trumpcare was quickly put together without the care and concern needed to develop a program that would deliver on the President’s campaign promises of a better, more affordable plan for everybody. The big elephant in the room is how to finance this campaign promise from a party ideologically not committed to provide care for our poorer citizens. Trumpcare  simply stated “covers fewer Americans, increases costs for low-income and senior citizens, increases the deficit, defunds Planned Parenthood and does next to nothing to reduce overall health care costs.” The San Jose Mercury editorial of March 9th summarizes the rushed GOP health care plan as a disaster. (

California will suffer huge lost payments from the Federal government as will other states which expanded Medicaid. “By a conservative estimate, the state stands to receive $8 billion less a year from the federal government to cover its health care costs for low-income families qualifying for Medi-Cal.” The rich will stand to gain huge tax reductions and the poor will lose coverage. Tom Price doesn’t understand or, maybe does, but doesn’t care that low income folks can’t use promised tax credits to replace lost subsidies under Obamacare. The cost of health care is being shifted to the individuals and taxpayers who are least able to pay for it. Trumpcare is a path to destroying Medicaid which reached so many poorer Americians.

 Highlights of Bay Area Bioscience Events Week of March 12, 2017

  • UCSC Clinical Trials Course: March 13-17, 2017, Event: Clinical Trials Essentials: An Intensive One-Week Course, Event Dates: Monday March 13- Friday, March 17 2017
  • Bio2Device Group, Tuesday Evening, March 14, 2017, Topic: “Brink of Catastrophe: Catching Addiction Early,” Speaker: David Deacon, CEO, DxRx Inc
  • WIB, Thursday Evening, March 16, 2017, Event: WIB-San Francisco Bay Area Women’s History Month Event: Leveraging Partnerships in the Growing Immuno-Oncology Space; Moderator: Stacy Feld, VP, Consumer Venture Investments & External Innovation, J&J Innovation – JJDC; Panelists: Julie Hambleton, MD, VP and Head of US Medical, Bristol-Myers Squibb; Sylvaine Cases, PhD, VP of Oncology Scientific Innovation, Janssen R&D and J&J Innovation;Jane Grogan, PhD, Head of Adaptive Tumor Immunity and Principal Scientist, Genentech
  • CABS, Saturday Afternoon, March 18, 2017, Topic: “NGS for cancer and autoimmune diseases”

You can download the details for the upcoming events this week and those through April 2017 with Audreys Picks March 12, 2017.



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