Senate to move forward with FDA nominee

The U.S. Senate approved Robert Califf, MD, President Barack Obama's nominee, to lead the Food and Drug Administration, in a vote 80-6, according to The Hill.

Senate approval brings Dr. Califf's official nomination closer to a final vote, which could come Tuesday, according to the report.

Despite his general approval, Dr. Califf, a cardiologist and current deputy commissioner of the FDA's Office of Medical Products and Tobacco, has been a contentious choice for some, who have concerns about his ties to the pharmaceutical industry, according to the report. Dr. Califf has worked with pharmaceutical company researchers to write scientific papers, has been paid for consulting drug companies and has declared financial support from more than 20 companies in the past year, according to The New York Times.

Of the handful of senators who opposed the nomination are four Democrats and two Republicans who want to use the nomination to push the debate on prescription drug abuse and opioid addiction during election season, according to The Hill.

Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) voted against Dr. Califf.


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