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Health Highlights: May 11, 2017

Senate Confirms Scott Gottlieb as FDA Chief No Decision on Climate Change Deal Until After G7 Summit: White House

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Senate Confirms Scott Gottlieb as FDA Chief

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday confirmed Scott Gottlieb as the new commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.

The 57-42 vote was largely along party lines, with Democrats criticizing Gottlieb's financial links with health care and pharmaceutical companies and his past opposition to FDA measures to reduce the risks posed by some products, the Washington Post reported.

The 44-year-old Gottlieb, a physician and venture capitalist, was as a deputy FDA commissioner and a high-ranking official at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services during the George W. Bush administration.

He takes charge of the FDA as it faces pressure from Republicans to further accelerate its drug-approval process and to be more aggressive role in fighting the nation's opioid epidemic, the Post reported.

While Gottlieb has been an outspoken critic of the FDA, some experts don't think that's an indication of how he will handle the agency.

"I understand why people can look at things he has written and have a lot of concerns, but he's going into a different role as FDA commissioner," Joshua Sharfstein, who was deputy commissioner during the Obama administration and is now a professor at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, told the Post.

"When you have an opinion and express it, you aren't responsible for the consequences," Sharfstein said. "But as commissioner, you are responsible."


No Decision on Climate Change Deal Until After G7 Summit: White House

A decision on whether the United States will pull out of a landmark climate change agreement won't be made until after the G7 summit in Italy later this month, the Trump administration says.

Trump is seeking input on both economic and environmental aspects as he considers what to do, according to White House spokesman Sean Spicer, the Associated Press reported.

A meeting for top advisers to discuss the international climate deal was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon but was postponed.

During the election campaign, Trump said he would renegotiate the Paris Climate Accord, but has wavered on the issue since becoming president.

Before the scheduled meeting Tuesday, a number of major businesses, including Apple, Google and Walmart expressed support for the climate change deal, the Post reported.

An opinion piece called "The Business Case for the Paris Climate Accord" was published Tuesday in The New York Times. It was written by Ted Halstead, president of the Climate Leadership Council, and George Shultz, who served as secretary of state under President Ronald Reagan.

"American business leaders understand that remaining in the agreement would spur new investment, strengthen American competitiveness, create jobs, ensure American access to global markets and help reduce future business risks associated with the changing climate," they wrote.

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