Senate HELP Committee Holds Nomination Hearing for FDA Commissioner

Yesterday, November 17, the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing to consider Dr. Robert Califf’s nomination by the President to serve as the new commissioner of the Food & Drug Administration (FDA).  If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Dr. Califf will replace Dr. Stephen Ostroff who has served as acting commissioner since Dr. Margaret Hamburg stepped down in March of this year.

During the hearing, most of the Senators praised Dr. Califf but he did receive tough questioning from Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (D-VT) regarding his connection with the pharmaceutical industry and the cost of prescription drugs.  Senator Sanders said he would vote against Dr. Califf’s nomination.  The nomination of Dr. Califf, a cardiologist and clinical trial expert from Duke University, is supported by medical groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.  A date for a vote confirming Dr. Califf has not been scheduled.

A recording of the committee hearing and Dr. Califf’s testimony can be viewed by clicking here.  To read more about yesterday’s hearing, please see the New York Times’ coverage here.