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Fri Nov 12, 2021, 09:12 AM

Biden to nominate Dr. Rob Califf as FDA commissioner

Source: CNN

(CNN)President Joe Biden will nominate Dr. Rob Califf, a longtime cardiologist, to be the next commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, a role Califf previously held during the Obama administration. The selection, expected later on Friday, concludes a months-long search as officials struggled to find a qualified candidate who could win Senate confirmation. Politico was first to report the selection.

In choosing Califf, Biden passed over Dr. Janet Woodcock, the acting commissioner. Though Woodcock was once considered for the role, she fell out of contention after it became clear she could not win the support of critical senators who criticized her role for how liberally the FDA approved opioids when she ran the drug division within the agency. The administration was up against a deadline to name a permanent commissioner.

Legally Woodcock could not stay on as the acting head past Monday unless a commissioner had been nominated. CNN previously reported the White House was in the process of vetting Califf for the role. Last month, CNN reported Biden had recently held a call with Califf. Califf previously led the agency from February 2016 to January 2017. During his confirmation process he faced opposition from several Democrats, including West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, who criticized his ties to the pharmaceutical industry. But he was ultimately confirmed by a vote of 89-4 in the Senate.

When he was head of the FDA, Califf oversaw the controversial 2016 approval of eteplirsen, a drug used to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a rare form of the genetic disorder. In a review of the decision, Califf backed Woodcock, who went against the FDA's independent advisory group that recommended against eteplirsen's approval. DMD has no cure, and at the time the only other approved treatment was steroids, which had severe side effects.

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2021/11/12/politics/rob-califf-fda-commissioner/index.html

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