Biden Weighs Nominating Former FDA Commissioner Robert Califf to Lead Agency Again

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The Food and Drug Administration has been without a permanent head since President Biden took office

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Dr. Calif, a leading cardiologist and medical researcher who served as the agency’s commissioner for nearly a year in the Obama administration, would replace Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock if nominated and confirmed. Although he was heavily confirmed for the position in 2016, some Democrats at the time objected to his ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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Dr. Calif did not return a request for comment. The Washington Post had previously reported on his possible nomination for the role.

Dr. Calif is Professor of Cardiology at Duke University School of Medicine. In 2019, he also took on roles as head of clinical policy and strategy for Verily Life Sciences and Google Health.

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He has studied the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the overall health of the country. Earlier this year, he warned about the long-term toll of the pandemic. “Once the acute phase of this crisis has passed, we will face a huge wave of death and disability as a result of common chronic diseases,” most prominently heart disease, he wrote in April in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association. .

Mr Biden faces a mid-November deadline to formally designate a permanent commissioner under federal law, which puts limits on how long a person can serve in an executive agency in an executive capacity. vacancy may be held.

Dr. Woodcock, who joined the agency in 1986, was long regarded as a top contender for the role. But he faced opposition from several Capitol Hill lawmakers, who in June criticized the agency’s controversial approval of a new Alzheimer’s drug. Three experts on the FDA advisory committee resigned over the decision, citing a lack of sufficient evidence about the drug’s efficacy and concerns over the approval process.

The agency faces several major decisions this fall, including granting emergency authorization to Pfizer. Inc. NS

Possible approval of a coronavirus vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 and additional booster shots for adults.

Sabrina Siddiqui at [email protected]

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