Resident fellow, American Enterprise Institute
In a year that will likely be remembered for medical misinformation and the proliferation of science-deniers, Dr. Scott Gottlieb continues to stand out as one of the clearest and most direct communicators of all things health-related.
Before stepping down as commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration in March 2019, he was often characterized as President Donald Trump’s most popular appointee, and one who earned respect from the medical and pharmaceutical communities alike. He has maintained that credibility in his post-FDA life, driven in part by his willingness to go public with straightforward analysis of COVID-19 data.
To that end, Gottlieb stands out among 2020’s few-and-far-between truth-tellers. On the one hand, he has been critical of the federal government’s response to COVID-19. On the other, he defends its institutions, keenly aware that taking potshots at public agencies undermines their efforts.
He’s also something of an optimist, rejecting the idea that “the FDA’s professional staff can be cowed by outside influences,” as he wrote in a piece he co-authored for The Wall Street Journal. “Beneath all the political rhetoric, the process for developing COVID vaccines has been rigorous.”
Gottlieb also serves on the boards of Pfizer, Illumina, Aetion and Tempus.