Biden taps Dr. Robert Califf to head FDA

President Joe Biden is nominating Robert Califf, MD, a former FDA commissioner, to lead the agency once again, the White House said Nov. 12.

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

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.

If confirmed by the Senate, Dr. Califf would be the first permanent FDA leader under President Biden.

Janet Woodcock, MD, has been serving as acting head of the agency, which, according to its website, is responsible for the regulation of more than $2.7 trillion worth of food, medical products and tobacco.

The FDA has played a key role in the COVID-19 pandemic, including through approval of vaccines.

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