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Biden’s FDA chief choose is Robert Califf

Dr. Robert Califf testifies during his nomination hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on November 17, 2015 in Washington, DC.

Win McNamee | Getty Images

President Joe Biden announced Friday that he would be Dr. Robert Califf to head the Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA, currently overseen by Acting Commissioner Woodcock, has not had a permanent boss since Biden took office in January. The White House reportedly ruled Woodcock after she encountered opposition from some members of Congress for handling opioids at the agency.

“First of all, I would like to Dr. Thank Janet Woodcock for her guidance over the past year, ”Biden said in a statement. “She has done an incredible job during a busy and challenging time running the agency, and both she and the FDA career staff have worked hard and followed the science to ensure that the American public can trust the FDA’s decisions . “

Califf, a cardiologist who works at Duke University School of Medicine and senior advisor to the life sciences organization of Google parent Alphabet, was a brief commissioner for the agency under the Obama administration from 2016. He was also the FDA’s Assistant Commissioner for Medical Devices and Tobacco Bureau.

Biden said Friday that Califf had “strong bipartisan support” in the Senate in 2016 when he was confirmed 89-4 in a critical moment, “the president said.

The new selection was expected shortly because Woodcock cannot legally remain as acting director beyond November 15 without a candidate being nominated for the duration of the position.

Shortly after Biden announced his election, West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin criticized the decision, saying it made “no sense” as he claimed Califf had “significant links to the pharmaceutical industry.”

Califf has worked as a consultant to pharmaceutical companies including Johnson & Johnson and Merck.

“His nomination is an insult to the many families and individuals whose lives have been forever changed by their addiction. I was able to Dr. Cannot and now cannot support Califf’s 2016 nomination, ”said Manchin.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), a large pharmaceutical trading group, praised Biden’s nomination.

“We hope the verification process is moving quickly and look forward to continuing to work with the FDA to fight the pandemic and other deadly diseases,” PhRMA CEO Stephen Ubl said in a statement.

Biden’s nomination comes amid the ongoing Covid pandemic that killed at least 759,678 Americans, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The FDA has helped bring life-saving treatments to market and approve the use of Covid vaccines, which have been shown to be highly effective, particularly against serious illness, hospitalizations and deaths.

More than 194 million Americans are fully vaccinated against Covid, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, the FDA has recently been heavily criticized for its decision to approve Biogen’s Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm.

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