Healthcare

Senate panel to consider Obama FDA nominee next week

The Senate Health Committee will hold a hearing for President Obama’s nominee to be FDA commissioner next week. 

{mosads}The hearing for Robert Califf, currently a deputy commissioner at the Food and Drug Administration and a longtime researcher at Duke University, will be held next Tuesday. 

Califf has been relatively uncontroversial. Upon his nomination in September, committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) praised his “strong credentials” and said the panel would move promptly to consider him. 

There have been a few concerns from the left that he is too close to the pharmaceutical industry, whose drugs the FDA is tasked with approving. 

Califf also faces an obstacle in Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), who has vowed to block all Department of Health and Human Services nominations until he gets information he wants from the administration about failed ObamaCare nonprofit health plans known as co-ops. 

Asked about Califf’s nomination on Tuesday, Sasse spokesman James Wegmann said “HHS has not provided answers.”

In October, Sasse vowed to block all nominees until administration officials answer nine questions about the co-op failures that he asked in a letter to HHS.   

The hearing on Tuesday will give senators a chance to hear Califf’s thoughts on speeding the FDA’s approval of new drugs. 

The House passed a bill with that aim in July, known as 21st Century Cures, and the Senate Health Committee is currently working on its own version.

“I look forward to hearing from Dr. Califf specifically on how we can move medical discoveries more rapidly through the FDA and other agencies and get safe treatments and drugs into Americans’ medicine cabinets,” Alexander said in September.

Tags Lamar Alexander

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