FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is resigning

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., submitted his resignation on Tuesday and plans to leave the agency within the next month, the Department of Health and Human Services announced.

Gottlieb said in a letter posted online his decision was the result of the challenge of being apart from his wife and young children.

"There are many important efforts we undertook together, countless new policies we advanced, and laws we enforced with vigor to protect consumers," he wrote. "Over the coming weeks I’ll continue to work to cement more of these efforts, to secure our 2020 budget, and to help transition the agency to new leadership."

As an industry insider, the selection of Gottlieb was originally both lauded and criticized when he first took the post in 2017. He was formerly a resident fellow at the conservative think tank the American Enterprise Institute and a former venture partner with New Enterprise Associates. He also formerly served as FDA's Director of Medical Policy Development.

Under his leadership, the agency has taken on the implementation of the new Right to Try law and sought to address high prescription drug prices. 

RELATED: Gottlieb: Agency will adequately protect patients following passage of 'right to try'

In a statement, HHS Administrator Alex Azar also praised Gottlieb for his contributions to the efforts to combat the opioid epidemic and steps to combat teen vaping.

"Scott’s leadership inspired historic results from the FDA team, which delivered record approvals of both innovative treatments and affordable generic drugs, while advancing important policies to confront opioid addiction, tobacco and youth e-cigarette use, chronic disease, and more," Azar said in the statement. "The public health of our country is better off for the work Scott and the entire FDA team have done over the last two years."

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma also praised Gottlieb's leadership.

"I am honored and privileged to have had the opportunity to work alongside him and see all that he has accomplished for the American people to spur medical innovation, increase access to generic drugs, and advance many other public health priorities," Verma said.

Less than two months ago, Gottlieb posted on Twitter he did not plan to leave the agency after he said a reporter had begun making calls to his friends asking about the commissioner's plans.  “I want to be very clear—I'm not leaving,” Gottlieb said. “We’ve got a lot [of] important policy we’ll advance this year," he said at the time.

The news was first reported by the Washington Post.