West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin came out against President Joe Biden’s expected pick to lead the Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Robert Califf, almost immediately over his ties to the pharmaceutical industry.
“Dr. Califf’s nomination and his significant ties to the pharmaceutical industry take us backwards not forward,” Manchin said in a statement. “His nomination is an insult to the many families and individuals who have had their lives changed forever as a result of addiction.”
“I urge the Administration to nominate an FDA Commissioner that understands the gravity of the prescription drug epidemic and the role of the FDA in fighting back against the greed of the pharmaceutical industry,” Manchin added.
Biden is set to nominate Califf Friday, and he briefly headed the department under former President Barack Obama. While Califf was previously confirmed in an 89-4 vote, Manchin voted against his nomination then as well.
Though Califf is a cardiologist by training, he has consulted for pharmaceutical companies.
Biden praised Califf in a statement Friday, invoking the bipartisan support he received when confirmed in 2016.
“Dr. Robert Califf is one of the most experienced clinical trialists in the country, and has the experience and expertise to lead the Food and Drug Administration during a critical time in our nation’s fight to put an end to the coronavirus pandemic,” Biden said. “As the FDA considers many consequential decisions around vaccine approvals and more, it is mission critical that we have a steady, independent hand to guide the FDA.”
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