Biden considers Robert Califf, a former FDA commissioner, to head the agency again

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WASHINGTON – The White House is considering appointing former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Dr Robert M. Califf to lead the agency again, according to five people familiar with the search for a candidate.

The FDA has not had a permanent chief since President Biden took office, leading to frequent criticism from public health experts who said the agency lacked clear direction during a phase intense pandemic, as it faced a crash of coronavirus vaccine reviews. , tests and treatments.

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People familiar with the research process said no final decision has been made. The acting commissioner of the FDA, Dr. Janet Woodcock, a longtime drug regulator, is nearing the end of the term that interim officials are allowed to serve.

Dr Califf declined to comment. News of his possible appointment was first reported by the Washington Post.

Dr. Califf, a cardiologist who teaches at Duke University School of Medicine, served only briefly as FDA commissioner at the end of President Barack Obama’s second term. He was the agency’s deputy commissioner of medical products and tobacco before leading it from February 2016 to January 2017.

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He was confirmed by the Senate as commissioner in February 2016 in an 89-4 vote, after some lawmakers opposed his appointment over what they called the agency’s poor record. in terms of prescription pain relievers. His appointment faced the fiercest resistance from Democrats.

Katie rogers, Sharon LaFraniere and Katie thomas contributed reports.

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