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Former FDA Commissioner Gottlieb Joins Pfizer

walking out a revolving door

Former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD has joined the board of directors of Pfizer, Inc.—the world’s largest pharmaceutical company and second largest manufacturer of vaccines. Pfizer, which posted total revenues of $53.7 billion in 2018, announced Dr. Gottlieb’s election to the board on June 27, 2019.1 2 3 4

Dr. Gottlieb, who led the FDA from May 11, 2017 to Apr. 5, 2019, has also been appointed to the Regulatory and Compliance Committee and the Science and Technology Committee of Pfizer’s board. 5 6

Senator Charges “Revolving Door Influence-Peddling”

In response to the Pfizer announcement, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) wrote a letter to Dr. Gottlieb on July 1. She said, “this kind of revolving door influence-peddling smacks of corruption, and makes the American people rightfully cynical and distrustful… ” and suggested that Dr. Gottlieb should “rectify” his “mistake and immediately resign” from his position on the board. She added: “Doing so would send a strong and necessary message to the American people about the importance of government ethics and the integrity of current and former federal officials.”6 7

Warren noted that, according to Pfizer, the company’s board members were paid “$142,500 in cash retainers in 2018, plus received $192,500 worth of Pfizer stock.6

Prior to his appointment as FDA commissioner, Dr. Gottlieb served on the board of directors of pharmaceutical companies Tolero Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Daiichi Sankyo Co. He also served on the investment board of GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK), currently the fourth largest vaccine maker in the world.4 8

Dr. Gottlieb’s Strong Opinions About Mandatory Use of Vaccines

As FDA Commissioner, Dr. Gottlieb often expressed strong opinions about the safety and mandatory use of vaccines. He has said he does not believe there is a need for further scientific research into reported vaccine side effects, such as the development of regressive autism in previously healthy children after vaccination.8 He was also outspoken this year about his belief that children attending school with vaccine exemptions are to blame for measles outbreaks and the federal government should intervene if states do not restrict or eliminate vaccine exemptions.

On Feb. 14, 2019, Axios reported that, “The federal government may try to take action if states don’t tighten their vaccine exemption laws and measles continues to spread in sections of the U.S.,” according to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. Axios quoted Dr. Gottlieb as saying, “Too many states have lax vaccine laws.”9 Barbara Loe Fisher of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) told Axios that 100 cases of measles in a population of 320 million “is not a public health emergency,” and “should not be used to justify eliminating the legal right to exercise informed consent to vaccination, which is protected by the inclusion of flexible medical, religious and conscientious-belief vaccine exemptions in public health laws.” 

States could “force the hand of the federal health agencies”

On Feb. 20, Dr. Gottlieb again publicly criticized the existence of exemptions in state vaccine laws requiring U.S. schoolchildren to receive FDA licensed and CDC recommended vaccines. He told CNN that, “Some states are engaging in such wide exemptions that they’re creating the opportunity for outbreaks on a scale that is going to have national implications.” He said if “certain states continue down the path that they’re on, I think they’re going to force the hand of the federal health agencies,” and added that,  “You could mandate certain rules about what is and isn’t permissible when it comes to allowing people to have exemptions.”

On Feb. 22, NVIC’s Loe Fisher questioned Dr. Gottlieb’s comments implying that federal agencies could intervene and override state vaccine laws. In an interview with THV-11 (CBS) in Arkansas, she pointed out that the federal government makes vaccine use recommendations and state governments make vaccine laws. She said, “It is highly inappropriate for federal government officials, particularly the commissioner of the FDA, to threaten state legislators with federal action if they don’t tighten vaccine exemption laws,” adding that “The federal government should not be interfering in what is a states’ rights issue.”10

Why Federal Intervention in State Vaccine Law is Not Legal

On Feb. 28, Northeastern Professor of Law Wendy Parmet, JD wrote an article published in STAT News reviewing legal issues with regard to the suggestion made by Dr. Gottlieb that federal health agencies could intervene in state vaccine lawmaking and restrict or eliminate vaccine exemptions. She said:11

That the states are on firm constitutional ground in repealing personal belief or religious exemptions doesn’t mean the federal government can abolish such exemptions. In its 2012 ruling on the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, the U.S. Supreme Court said that the federal government’s authority over interstate commerce does not permit it to compel individual action. If Congress can’t require individuals to have health insurance, or eat broccoli, it can’t mandate vaccination either.

Under the 10th Amendment’s anti-commandeering doctrine, the federal government cannot force states to pass laws to its pleasing.

Congress could use its power of the purse to buy state compliance, perhaps by requiring states to get rid of philosophical and religious exemptions in order to receive federal public health funds. But any such conditional spending laws must give states a clear choice and can’t be coercive.

Federal health agencies can’t act without congressional authority. Under current law, the FDA licenses vaccines. But it cannot regulate the practice of medicine, and it has no authority to mandate that individuals be vaccinated. Nor does the FDA have statutory authority to require states to enact specific vaccine laws. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is charged with making recommendations about vaccinations, but these are meant to advise, not dictate, state laws.

Professor Parmet added, “Nor should Congress give such authority to any federal health agency. Although mandates can save lives, they can also stoke backlashes…by working to improve public education around vaccines, enhancing transparency, educating and paying health professionals to talk to parents about vaccines, and ensuring vaccine safety, federal officials can help bolster trust in vaccines. Those efforts, more than anything, may lead to fewer exemptions.”

On Mar. 5, Dr. Gottlieb suddenly announced that he was resigning as FDA Commissioner to spend more time with his family. Media coverage of his resignation announcement focused on his vow to crack down on companies that market vaping to minors.12

Gottlieb Defends Return to Biotech Venture Capitalist Role

Two months after resigning from the FDA, on July 2, Dr. Gottlieb defended his decision to join the Pfizer board. He stated that he was returning to the same venture capitalist role he held in the biotech sector of the pharmaceutical industry before he was appointed as FDA Commissioner. 

Dr. Gottlieb told CNBC that, “I worked with some large drugmakers before I came into the agency.” He added that his new role at Pfizer is bigger than anything he did before the FDA. “I made no bones about the fact that I had expertise in life sciences and I made my living trying to promote innovation in this sector prior to coming to the agency.”13

In addition to serving on the Pfizer Board, Dr. Gottlieb has returned to the American Enterprise Institute as a resident fellow. He also is a special partner at the venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates, where he worked before joining the FDA. He is also now a contributor to CNBC


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11 Responses

  1. Please God, don’t tell me anyone is surprised by this. Gosh! A former head of an ABC now works for a company he used to “oversee”??! Plenty of people have been screaming about this crap for decades. USDA, FDA, CDC

    Take one Anne Venemen – appointed head of USDA under Shrub Sr. Gave us the National Animal Identification System. Tom Knight replaces her, she moves to FDA. Then to CDC.

    Who is Anne? Former legal counsel Monsanto. Who is Tom? Former governor of Nebraska (who courted a Monsanto installation as well as championed their products in his state).

    Anne then leaves CDC. Rejoins Monsanto. Tom leaves USDA, becomes state senator.

    And on and on it goes. These three agencies are nearly always headed by people from the companies they formerly worked for, but NOBODY ever sees a conflict of interest there. Then they do their thing, we get screwed and they go back to the company which gives them a HUGE salary increase for doing their dirty work while in the government position.

    Sorry folks – didn’t mean to throw ice water but its time people wake up.

    Want another one??? Facebook was founded on the exact day that DARPA was disbanded, and its upper echelon employees were part of that program. Wonder why they get away with censorship? We are digging on Jack, too, but it is interesting to note that of the three founding partners at Google, only HE is still a big name and I think one of them is dead.

    And just for background on the Big Five (Bayer, Baxter, Pfizer, Merck, IG Farben) – every last one of them was founded by someone (or several someones, and in at least one case, by parents of said criminals) who was on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity at Nuremberg – and every last one of them either got a commuted sentence or a drastically reduced sentence.

    THIS is what we are up against. Keep to the high ground, but know all the background!!

    Alas, the cliche hits home: Those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it.

  2. OK, so I can’t let this go either:

    The anti-commandeering doctrine has been turned into a bad joke, too. Just take a look at seat-belt laws and drinking ages. Both were issues forced by the federal government through the threats of reduced funding for certain programs and going after state bonding.

    Tell me how effective that doctrine really is. The federal government was never meant to have power over the states – it was merely to control things that all states needed collectively such as defense and to mediate trade with foreign nations.

    Our system has been so corrupted that precious few even know what it is supposed to look like. We have one hell of a mess to clean up, and it doesn’t start, nor does it stop with forced mandatory vaccination of ourselves or our children.

    We need to stand for our values, but we need to stand together. Factionalizing things will only fail, and it will fail miserably.

    Unfortunately the blame for all of that falls directly on the shoulders of those voters who have not done their research on candidates they put in office (Fox, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS etc – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest – do NOT count as research! Given admission of doctoring search results, neither does Google) , who thought their job was done when they walked away from the polling booth, and/or who did not/do not stand up and demand justice because they did not/do not know what that looks like anymore unless it hits them so close to home that they become blinded in the opposite direction.

    We need ONE voice. We didn’t draw this line in the sand, we didn’t choose this line in the sand, and we have no choice other than to defend from here and push back as hard, fast and far was we can…

    I think we are all finally quite tired of being lied to, used, abused and now coerced into doing what they want so they can profit off of our collective misery!

    FDA = Facts Don’t Apply
    USDA = Uncle Sam Destroying Agriculture
    CDC = Criminal Disease Creators

  3. these are such horrible human beings.. I don’t think they deserve the title Human Being… I don’t know what to call them .. they are murderers.. plain and simple..

  4. Sue Dieterich – 100% correct. The slime from the growth and power of the “Federal” government has corrupted the Nation and allowed Pharma and other rent seekers to take advantage of the power concentrated in DC to become our new royalty with the help of our congress weasels.

  5. Is Dr. Gottleib up-to-date on his vaccines? ALL OF THEM? I think someone should check that out to make sure he’s a man of his word, don’t you? After all, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, right?

    If he’s NOT up to date on ALL OF HIS VACCINES, he needs to be brought up to date immediately or fired from every “medical” position he is currently holding.

    1. Are you kidding? Those at the top know the toxic soup that goes into vaccines! If they are up to date on their vaxxes, they were probably injected with saline water. Reminds me of Bill Gates taking his child to a doctor and getting vaccines. Give me that hypodermic and let me have an independent chemist run an assay. Betcha $100 it’s saline water.

  6. Thank you for this article and comments. This is what main stream news should look like. But bribery is so prevalent in the USA that people are being lied to as the press confuses news with these paid advertisement by pharmaceutical companies.

  7. Are you kidding? Those at the top know the toxic soup that goes into vaccines! If they are up to date on their vaxxes, they were probably injected with saline water. Reminds me of Bill Gates taking his child to a doctor and getting vaccines. Give me that hypodermic and let me have an independent chemist run an assay. Betcha $100 it’s saline water.

  8. I think we need a federal law where the vaccination records of all FDA and CDC employees along with those of their children are required to be made public.

    The same law could be extended to the employees of all vaccine-making companies (and their children).

    This is not a privacy issue. They only need to show the records of those vaccines that are mandated in their respective states.

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