The Senate has confirmed Robert Califf as the new FDA commissioner by an overwhelming vote of 89 to four.
“Dr. Califf has demonstrated a long and deep commitment to advancing the public health throughout his distinguished career as a physician, researcher, and leader in the fields of science and medicine,” says Stephen Ostroff, interim FDA commissioner. “He understands well the critical role that the FDA plays in responding to the changes in our society while protecting and promoting the health of the public, across the many areas we regulate – and I am confident that our public health and scientific contributions will further grow under his exceptional leadership.”
On Monday, the Senate cleared the way for Robert Califf to be confirmed as the new FDA commissioner. By a vote of 80 to six, the senators supported a procedural motion to move forward with a vote on the Obama Administration’s nomination, preventing anyone from blocking a vote and limiting debate to 30 hours. The vote ended a Democratic filibuster, which called for a tougher approach on opioid and other prescription drug abuse and a willingness to stand up to big pharmacy. Formerly a prominent medical researcher and cardiologist at Duke University, Califf was named deputy commissioner for medical products and tobacco for FDA in February last year. A vote on the nomination is expected soon.
Margaret Hamburg stepped down from her position as FDA commissioner last year, formally leaving the position in March. During her nearly six-year tenure, Hamburg helped modernize the country’s food safety system and took steps to help consumers make more informed, healthful food decisions. She also oversaw the development of science-based standards to create a food safety system focused on preventing foodborne illness.