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  • Washington Highlights

    Senate HELP Committee Approves Califf Nomination to Head FDA

    Tannaz Rasouli, Sr. Director, Public Policy & Strategic Outreach

    The Senate Health, Education, Pensions and Labor Committee (HELP) Jan. 12 approved by voice vote the nomination of Robert Califf, M.D., to lead the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

    HELP Committee Chair Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) urged the Senate to quickly consider Califf’s nomination with a floor vote adding, “Americans need competent leadership to head this significant agency and to help bring safe drugs and devices to market faster and protect our nation’s food supply.”

    Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is seeking assurance from Califf regarding the FDA’s position on mandatory labeling of genetically engineered Atlantic salmon before the Senate vote.

    Margaret Hamburg, M.D., stepped down as FDA commissioner in March 2015. Stephen Ostroff, M.D., has since served as acting commissioner.

    In a Sept. 24, 2015 statement, AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, M.D., applauded the nomination, calling Califf “a prominent champion for medical research.” He added, “A physician scientist of Dr. Califf’s abilities and experience with clinical trials and translational research will be invaluable to advancing the science that underpins the FDA’s public health and safety mission.”