Biden nominates Robert Califf as FDA commissioner
President Biden said on Friday that he will nominate Obama-era Food and Drug Administration commissioner Robert Califf to again lead the agency.
Why it matters: The nomination comes after a search for the next commissioner spanned many months and as the new commissioner enters at a critical juncture in the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccination campaign, Politico reports.
Driving the news: "Dr. Robert Califf is one of the most experienced clinical trialists in the country, and has the experience and expertise to lead the Food and Drug Administration during a critical time in our nation’s fight to put an end to the coronavirus pandemic," Biden said in a statement on Friday.
- If confirmed by the Senate, Califf would manage decisions over COVID-19 vaccines and the agency's tobacco and pharmaceutical policies, per Politico.
- Califf previously served as FDA commissioner from 2016-2017, when he was confirmed in 2016 by an 89-4 vote in the Senate.
- Politico first reported on Califf's expected nomination.
What he's saying: "As the FDA considers many consequential decisions around vaccine approvals and more, it is mission critical that we have a steady, independent hand to guide the FDA," Biden said.
- "Dr. Califf had strong bipartisan support in the Senate in 2016, and I urge the Senate to swiftly confirm Dr. Califf so he can continue the important work being done at this critical moment."
State of play: Janet Woodcock, a longtime leader of the FDA office that reviews drugs, has served as the acting FDA commissioner since January.
- Woodcock's candidacy for the full-time commissioner position stalled, predominately over some Democrats' concerns over her relationship with the pharmaceutical industry, Axios' Tina Reed reports.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with President Biden's statement.