By Tim Devaney - 01/12/16 11:20 AM EST
Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersHow a new Clinton presidency will change American politics forever Ex-Arizona governor: Hispanic Dems 'don’t get out and vote' Emails show Clinton camp's plans to work with writers to hit Sanders MORE (D-Vt.) voted Tuesday against President Obama’s nominee to lead the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), citing concerns over his ties to the pharmaceutical industry.
A Republican-led Senate panel advanced Dr. Robert Califf’s nomination to the full floor for final approval, despite Sanders’ opposition.
"At a time when millions of Americans cannot afford to purchase the prescription drugs they need, we need a leader at the FDA who is prepared to stand up to the drug companies,” the Democratic presidential candidate said in a statement. "We need someone who will work to substantially lower drug prices, implement rules to safely import brand-name drugs from Canada and hold companies accountable who defraud our government.
“Dr. Califf is not that person,” he added. "His extensive ties to the pharmaceutical industry give me no reason to believe that he would make the FDA work for ordinary Americans, rather than pharmaceutical industry CEOs who are more focused on making obscene profits than saving lives.”
Califf, who joined the FDA as a deputy commissioner last February, has enjoyed support from both sides of the aisle during the confirmation process. But Sanders is one of the few senators to oppose his nomination.
Sanders went on a Twitter rant after the vote.
It's unacceptable that 1 out of 5 Americans between the ages of 19 and 64 cannot afford the drugs they are prescribed.— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) January 12, 2016
It is unacceptable that the monthly cost of cancer drugs has more than doubled over the last ten years to $9,900.— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) January 12, 2016
FDA Commissioner Stephen Ostroff has served as acting head of the agency since April 2015 when he took over for Margaret Hamburg.