FDA chief: ‘Pleased to see’ interest from big tech in healthcare

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, isn’t surprised tech giants like Apple and Google seem to be jumping into the healthcare space. He’s only surprised it took them so long to do so.

“If you think about where people allocate resources and tend to spend time thinking about getting access to information and making decisions and purchasing consumer products to meet goals, it's a big market,” Gottlieb said in an interview with CNBC. “I'm pleased to see the interest and see a big, untapped opportunity for more consumer facing tools.”

He was specifically asked about Amazon’s potential moves into pharmaceuticals. He said the drug supply chain “is ripe for disruption” in ways which could benefit consumers.

When it came to discussing specific products and studies, such as Apple Watch’s applications in cardiology, he was less specific, but did support the general concept of technology getting patients more engaged in their care.

“I don't want to talk about any specific product, but I think that and similar concepts are examples of where a tool is engaging people in their health and prompting them to think about activity more,” he said. “It could also clinically provide benefits if the companies follow certain guidelines.”

For more of Gottlieb’s thoughts on the future of digital health and venture capital activity in medical device and biopharma, click on the link below: