Senate confirms Dr. Robert Califf as FDA commissioner with bipartisan support

Republicans within the Senate supplied six votes Tuesday that had been wanted to verify Dr. Robert Califf as Commissioner of Meals and Medication by a 50-46 vote.

Califf is the twenty fifth FDA commissioner and takes over the company from Dr. Janet Woodcock who has served as performing commissioner since Joe Biden turned President. She stays at FDA as a principal deputy commissioner beneath Califf.

Califf was additionally FDA’s twenty second Commissioner of Meals and Medication, having first served within the job throughout President Obama’s final 12 months in workplace. Califf’s first affirmation got here on an 89-4 Senate vote.

After successful help from the Senate Well being, Schooling, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Califf’s help unexpectedly started to erode amongst some Democrats who ordinarily would help their president’s selections for high jobs.  

Getting his affirmation vote was made all of the tougher by Sen. Ben Ray Lujan, (D-NM) being absent as a result of he suffered a major stroke. 

Among the many Democrats not supporting  Califf was the highly effective Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. He stated  Califf  bears “an excessive amount of accountability” for drug overdose deaths that started occurring throughout Califf’s first tenure as FDA commissioner.

“Nothing that Dr. Califf has stated or finished has led me to consider he’ll function the FDA any otherwise than he did throughout his earlier tenure,” Manchin stated.

Becoming a member of Manchin in voting  in opposition to Califf had been Senators Richard Blumenthal, D-CN, Maggie Hassan, D-NH, Ed Markey, D-MA, and Bernie Sanders, I-VT.

However Califf loved the help of six Republicans: Senators Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Richard Burr (North Carolina), Mitt Romney (Utah), Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania), and Roy Blunt (Missouri). As well as, Republican Sen. Mike Rounds, SD, was the non-voting “pair” with the absent Sen. Lujan of New Mexico. Rounds voted “current.”

The GOP votes offset the lack of 5 Democrats who ended up opposing Califf’s affirmation.

Six former FDA commissioners endorsed Califf, telling the Senate that an skilled hand is required to run the company that’s nonetheless coping with the pandemic. Califf is a distinguished heart specialist with deep scientific analysis expertise.

Califf has promised to rapidly launch a complete assessment of opioid painkillers like OxyContin, which helped set off the worst drug epidemic in U.S. historical past after their FDA approval within the Nineties.

Opposition to Califf’s affirmation got here from Democrats who don’t like his ties to the pharmaceutical trade and anti-abortion advocates who blame him for abortion tablet approvals.

Sen. Richard Burr, the rating member of the Senate HELP Committee, made the case for Califf this fashion: “He has the strong company and personal sector expertise wanted to assist construct on the success of the FDA in serving to Individuals get again to regular life with the approval of assessments, vaccines, and therapeutics which might be bringing the pandemic to an finish. He’s the chief we want as we speak, but in addition for the longer term.”

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