FDA official backs out of bird flu plan due to conflicts

So, is this a conflict of interest that's resolved? The FDA's deputy commissioner for medical and scientific affairs, Scott Gottlieb, will not take part in some aspects of the Bush Administration's bird flu planning "because his past consulting work for Manning Selvage & Lee involved companies whose products would be used to combat a flu pandemic. Gottlieb's former clients include Roche -- manufacturer of the highly sought antiviral Tamiflu -- and Sanofi-Aventis, parent company of the nation's sole flu vaccine manufacturer," according to the Boston Globe:

    Gottlieb said a ''reasonable person would question my impartiality" in matters related to those firms, according to an Aug. 5 memo to then FDA commissioner Lester Crawford obtained by The Boston Globe through a Freedom of Information Act request...Gottlieb ''works on general process and management issues, and has not dealt with issues related to particular matters involving companies from which he is recused," Julie Zawisza, an FDA spokeswoman, said in a written response to questions. Gottlieb, who is paid $149,000 by the FDA, declined to comment.

    This sounds pretty fair to me. What do you think?

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