Character counts

Why Trump’s short lists for HHS, FDA, CMS heads are crucial to industry

Republican control of the Senate and House of Representatives is an unambiguous win for biopharma companies, but it is too early to judge what the election of Donald Trump as president will mean for an industry that rises or falls on the direct and indirect effects of government regulation and oversight.

The most accurate guideposts of the direction the executive branch will travel in coming years are the personnel decisions being formulated now. In particular, nominations for leaders of HHS, FDA, CMS, and NIH will provide the first real indicators of how the Trump administration will handle government activities that are critical for the success of life sciences companies.

The character and qualifications of political appointments provides one of the best early measures of a new president’s intentions, capabilities and prospects for success.

Cabinet secretaries and agency heads are especially important in the administration of a president who lacks political and policy experience. It is likely that cabinet secretaries and agency heads will have a great deal of autonomy in the Trump administration, especially compared to the Obama White House.

In an administration that is not defined by ideology, the priorities and personal networks of top government officials will shape policy.

It is likely that cabinet secretaries and agency heads will have a great deal of autonomy in the Trump administration.

Given the contentious nature of the campaign, as well as his departures from Republican orthodoxy, Trump’s ability to attract talented individuals with relevant experience for positions like FDA commissioner, CMS administrator, and NIH director will depend in large part on the credibility and personal qualities of his HHS secretary.

Key staffing and initial policy decisions are being made by the transition team. Unlike sectors such as energy,

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