Since Margaret Hamburg stepped down as FDA commissioner in 2015, the agency has had seven different commissioners, some acting and others permanent. A recent New York Times item mentioned President Biden’s new choice to lead the agency, and if his name sounds familiar to you, it’s because he served from February 2016 to January 2017. The nominee is Robert M. Califf, a researcher academic and clinical who consulted pharmaceutical companies for years. He also headed the research center at Duke University.
The White House spent nearly a year deliberating on who would take the job. Several candidates were fired following complaints that they had worked too closely with the pharmaceutical industry. While Dr Califf also has ties, Biden believes he is the one who pulled the country out of the pandemic. In his statement announcing the appointment, Biden wrote, “As the FDA reviews many consequential decisions regarding vaccine approvals and more, it is essential that we have a stable and independent hand to guide the FDA, I have no doubts that Dr. Califf will ensure that the FDA continues its decision making based on science and data. Dr Califf will need to be confirmed by the Senate before assuming office.