In a 50-46 vote, the U.S. Senate confirmed Robert Califf, M.D. as the new FDA commissioner. The close vote is reflective of the controversy that has followed Califf, who previously led FDA for a short period of time during the Obama administration. Pushback surrounding his Califf’s nomination was related to his strong ties with the pharmaceutical industry and the opioid epidemic.
“We congratulate Dr. Califf on his confirmation today to once again lead FDA. His previous experience at the helm of the agency will serve him well as he hits the ground running during an ongoing global health crisis,” said Scott Whitaker, Advamed president and CEO, in a statement. “On behalf of the medtech industry and the patients we serve, we look forward to working with the new Commissioner and his team to promote public health and continue improving patient care through innovation in life-saving medical technology. We are also deeply appreciative of Dr. Janet Woodcock’s leadership during her tenure as acting commissioner during this pandemic, and we thank her for her years of service.” At one point, Woodcock was under consideration for the FDA commissioner position by the White House. She has served at FDA for 35 years.
“Dr. Califf’s Senate confirmation is welcome news, and I congratulate him on behalf of the medtech industry and the patients we serve,” said Abiomed chairman, president and CEO Mike Minogue. “Now more than ever, FDA requires steady leadership as the country emerges from the pandemic. We look forward to working with Commissioner Califf on our common goal of ensuring that the innovative medical technologies patients and providers rely on are safe and effective.”