Biden considering Dr. Robert Califf to head FDA: Reports

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President Joe Biden is considering Robert Califf, MD, a former FDA commissioner, to once again lead the agency, according to The Washington Post, which first reported his possible nomination, citing several people familiar with the discussions.

The FDA has not had a permanent leader under President Biden, and Janet Woodcock, MD, has been serving as acting FDA commissioner. Dr. Woodcock, who was named acting commissioner in January, may only serve in the acting role until mid-November, according to the Post. President Biden must nominate Dr. Woodcock or pick another leader by this deadline.

Sources familiar with the process told the PostThe New York Times and CNN that a final decision has not been made. Dr. Califf declined to comment to media outlets.

Dr. Califf, a cardiologist and teacher at the Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, N.C., served as FDA commissioner during President Obama's administration from 2016-17.

A senior federal official familiar with the search for a permanent FDA head told the Times Dr. Califf was an appealing candidate because of his prior Senate confirmation as FDA commissioner in 2016.

After serving as FDA commissioner, Dr. Califf joined Google parent company Alphabet in 2017 as an adviser before moving up the organization's ranks as head of strategy and policy for Alphabet's Verily Life Sciences and Google Health divisions by November 2019.

Dr. Califf also previously served as deputy commissioner of the FDA's Office of Medical Products and Tobacco.

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