Depending on where you get your vaping news, some people are pinning all of their hopes and dreams on the shoulders of Scott Gottlieb. As of May 8, he is now the official Head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the overseer of all things related to the controversial deeming regulations that threaten to wipe out the American vaping industry by 2018.
Fans of Gottlieb love the guy because of his long-time connections to the vape-friendly Jim O’Neill of NJOY fame. Gotty is also a former financial investor in the e-cig company KURE. And of course, Gottlieb is a Trump pick.
So, naturally, lots of vapers automatically assume that any friend of The Donald’s is going to be a friend of the American vaping community. After all, it was the Democratic President Barrack Obama who gave the go-ahead for the FDA deeming regulations to be created and implemented in the first place. And Trump is apparently trying to reverse any and all Obama-inspired legislation from the past eight years.
Since Trump also often claims to be vehemently against government regulations of any kind, it is also a natural assumption to presume that a Trump-appointed FDA Chief will feel very much the same way. Oh, if only it were that simple.
Trump, Gottlieb, and the FDA deeming regulations
What many pro-vaping advocates refuse to acknowledge is that FDA Chief Scott Gottlieb is also a very successful venture capitalist who has received over $400,000 in payments from Big Pharma between 2013 and 2015 alone. Gottlieb has made a small fortune by working closely with pharmaceutical companies like GlaxoSmithKline and others – companies that hold the patents on more conventional nicotine replacement therapies like “the patch” and nicotine gum.
Coupled with the fact that Gottlieb’s new boss, the newly confirmed Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Tom Price, has also made millions by colluding with Big Pharma, you have a potential mixture of political corruption that is only exceeded by Donald Trump’s ineptitude.
It was Obama’s stacking of the proverbial deck of the FDA with card-carrying members of Big Pharma like Mitch Zeller and Jack Henningfield that got the American vaping industry into this mess in the first place. Will Scott Gottlieb be any different than Zeller? Perhaps. Or perhaps not.
But one thing is certain. Gottlieb has already recused himself from making any decisions in the debate to repeal or replace the FDA deeming regulations for a period of at least one year. The decision to recuse stems from his alleged loyalty to the vaping industry due to his past investments in KURE. For vapers who are depending on Gottlieb and Trump to save vaping, better not put all of your eggs in this single basket. We need a Plan B....just in case.