FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb to Return to AEI

Commissioner of Food and Drugs Scott Gottlieb addressed his colleagues during his final all-hands meeting last week. Gottlieb touted the work that was accomplished during his time at the agency: to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with tobacco use, address opioid abuse and addiction, advance drug competition, develop and approve new medical technologies and devices, expand access to investigative medicines for patients with terminal illness, improve food safety, approve a record number of generic and novel drugs, advance medical products for American soldiers, and aid in the recovery of Puerto Rico in the aftermath of recent hurricanes. He thanked his colleagues for their support and dedication to the mission of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and expressed confidence that meaningful change will continue under the leadership of deputy commissioners Amy Abernethy, Frank Yiannas, and Anna Abram and incoming Acting Commissioner Ned Sharpless. Gottlieb also announced plans to return to work at AEI and focus on the issue of drug prices.

HHS IG to Resign

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Inspector General Daniel Levinson submitted his resignation to the President last week. He plans to leave the department at the end of May. Levinson has led the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for 15 years. Principle Deputy Inspector General Joanne Chiedi will serve as acting inspector general upon Levinson’s departure. “Under Dan’s leadership, the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) has done tireless, invaluable work to protect program beneficiaries and taxpayer funds, improve the management and integrity of HHS programs, and respond to emerging challenges such as the ongoing opioid crisis,” Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said in a statement.

OIG Investigates CMS Administrator Verma

The OIG has replied to a letter from House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) saying that it has opened an internal investigation into the matter of whether Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma has complied with rules and ethics requirements for government contracts. Verma has come under scrutiny in recent weeks after it was reported that she spent millions of dollars on private communications consultants.

Upcoming Congressional Hearings and Meetings

House Education and Labor Committee markup of H.R. 1010, To provide that the rule entitled “Short-Term, Limited Duration Insurance” shall have no force or effect; 10:15 a.m.; 2175 Rayburn; April 9

Senate Finance Committee hearing to examine drug pricing in America, focusing on a prescription for change, part III; 10:15 a.m.; 215 Dirksen; April 9

House Ways and Means Committee markup of H.R.___, “Prescription Drug Sunshine, Transparency, Accountability and Reporting Act” (STAR Act); 10:30 a.m.; 1100 Longworth; April 9

House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies hearing on Indian Health Service Budget Request for FY’20; 10:30 a.m.; 2008 Rayburn; April 9

House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Public Witness hearing day; 2:00 p.m.; 2358-C Rayburn; April 9

House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing titled “Priced Out of a Lifesaving Drug: Getting Answers on the Rising Cost of Insulin;” 10:30 a.m.; 2123 Rayburn; April 10

Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing to examine VA MISSION Act, focusing on implementing the Veterans Community Care Program; 2:30 p.m.; 418 Russell; April 10

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