FDA nominee moves to untangle potential conflicts of interest

Dr. Scott Gottlieb is seen in this American Enterprise Institute photo released in Washington, DC, U.S., March 10, 2017. Courtesy The American Enterprise Institute/Handout via REUTERS

(Reuters) - Dr. Scott Gottlieb, President Donald Trump's nominee to lead the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, has outlined measures he would take to untangle his ties to the pharmaceutical industry if confirmed by the Senate.

In an ethics disclosure form filed with the Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday, Gottlieb said he would resign from multiple corporate boards including GlaxoSmithKline Plc and consulting positions.

Gottlieb's financial ties to the healthcare industry are extensive. If confirmed he has agreed to recuse himself from matters in which he has a financial interest and divest his holdings in about 20 mostly small healthcare companies.

Gottlieb, 44, is widely expected to be confirmed, though his pharmaceutical ties are likely to be scrutinized by Democrats. For the past decade he has been a partner at New Enterprise Associates, a large venture capital fund with investments in the life sciences.

He would also resign from his position at the investment firm T.R. Winston & Co, and said he would not perform any consulting work while running the agency or participate in any matter involving previous clients for a year after last providing services to a client.

Gottlieb, a resident fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute think tank, is viewed favorably by the drug industry. He would be responsible for implementing key elements in the recently passed 21st Century Cures Act, which calls on the agency to streamline the drug approval process.

(Reporting by Toni Clarke in Washington; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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