Just under a month ago, the Senate confirmed Scott Gottlieb as the new commissioner to head the federal Food and Drug Administration. As a leader in research and development for the biotech and pharma industries, experts in Massachusetts are keeping a close eye on his leadership, especially on policy that will impact the opioid epidemic.  

Gottlieb, a physician and former FDA deputy commissioner, has received praise for his efforts in combating the opioid crisis. In his first interview since becoming commissioner, he called for tougher restrictions on opioid use, making the case that they should only be used for brief periods of time for patients with specific types of pain management needs.

However, Gottlieb's ties to the pharmaceutical industry have drawn criticism over what influences will steer his leadership at the FDA.

Dr. Bruce Chabner, emeritus clinical director at Massachusetts General Hospital, says Gottlieb's expertise with drug development is a useful contribution to the FDA. But, he says, any concerns that arise from his prior affiliations should be addressed through hearings, where he should be asked "to divest and break these connections and abide by these rules about not rejoining companies immediately after he's been commissioner."

To hear the entire interview with WGBH's Bob Seay and Dr. Bruce Chabner, click on the audio player above.