**Video footage of Brown’s remarks is available HERE.**
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) spoke on the Senate floor this afternoon ahead of an expected vote on the nomination of Dr. Scott Gottlieb to head the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“All across Ohio and across this country, people are dying because of the opioid epidemic – 91 Americans, including 12 Ohioans, will die from overdoses today, according to statistics,” said Brown. “We need all hands on deck to fight this crisis – including the FDA. But unfortunately Dr. Gottlieb’s record indicates that as commissioner, he would not take the epidemic and the FDA’s authority to rein in prescription painkillers and other drugs seriously, which is why I cannot support his nomination.”
Brown raised concerns following a report from the Washington Post, which found that while at FDA in 2006, Gottlieb worked on behalf of the pharmaceutical Cephalon to try to secure additional supply of fentanyl when the company was running low. According to the Post, the company was under investigation at that time for illegally pushing fentanyl for off-label uses.
In April, Brown announced his opposition to Gottlieb’s nomination, citing his cozy relationship with the pharmaceutical industry and troubling record on opioids. The Washington Post story raised additional concerns over whether Gottlieb could act in the best interest of Ohioans and use his authority to rein in prescription painkillers.
Brown has introduced bipartisan legislation to help keep illegal fentanyl and other deadly synthetic opioids out of the U.S. The INTERDICT Act has garnered the support of several state and national law enforcement organizations.
Dr. Gottlieb has called into question the FDA’s authority to police opioids, despite the fact that these prescription drugs are often sold on the black market. He has supported allowing pharmaceutical companies to rush their drugs – including potentially addictive opioid painkillers – onto the market before properly safety protocols are complete. And he’s defended industry’s efforts to market new drugs and devices with minimal safety oversight, prioritizing industry special interests and profit potential over patient safety.
Brown also expressed concern over Gottlieb’s ability to stand up to big tobacco, particularly when it comes to newer products, like e-cigarettes, which are particularly appealing to kids.