Trump considering libertarian reformer to head FDA

Peter Thiel associate advocates anti-aging medicine and patient freedom to use new drugs found safe, at their own risk
December 10, 2016

The Seasteading Institute wants to create new societies at sea, away from FDA (and other government) regulations. (credit: Seasteading Institute)

President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team is considering libertarian Silicon Valley investor Jim O’Neill, a Peter Thiel associate, to head the Food and Drug Administration, Bloomberg Politics has reported.

O’Neill, the Managing Director of Mithril Capital Management LLC, doesn’t have a medical background, but served in the George W. Bush administration as principal associate deputy secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services. He’s also a board member of the Seasteading Institute, a Thiel-backed venture to create new societies at sea, away from existing governments.

“We should reform FDA so there is approving drugs after their sponsors have demonstrated safety — and let people start using them, at their own risk, but not much risk of safety,” O’Neill said in a speech at the August 2014 Rejuvenation Biotechnology conference. “O’Neill also advocated anti-aging medicine in that speech, saying he believed it was scientifically possible to develop treatments that would reverse aging,” said Bloomberg.

O’Neill’s prospective nomination could also bring about “significant changes to medical cannabis policy and potentially address the regulations that have prevented medical cannabis research,” Mike Liszewski, the director of government affairs at Americans for Safe Access, told ATTN:.

Scott Gottlieb, M.D., a former FDA official and now at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), is also reportedly under consideration, according to The Hill.

In a recent related announcement, Trump has selected Rep. Tom Price, M.D. (R., Ga.), a leader in the efforts to replace ObamaCare, to be his secretary of Health and Human Services. “His most frequent objection to [the Affordable Care Act] is that it interferes with the ability of patients and doctors to make medical decisions,” The New York Times notes. Price also proposes to deregulate the market for medical services, according to the AEI.