President Biden is expected to nominate Dr. Robert Califf, a former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner during the Obama administration, to once again head the agency, according to media reports.

If confirmed, Califf would take over the agency from Dr. Janet Woodcock, who is serving as acting commissioner. Dr. Woodcock has served in an acting capacity since the beginning of the Biden administration. She cannot legally stay on as acting commissioner past November 15 without a nominee to hold the position permanently according to the procedures under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act.

Dr. Califf, a cardiologist at the Duke University School of Medicine, has also served as deputy commissioner of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. Dr. Califf has worked as a consultant for AstraZeneca, Merck & Co., and Johnson & Johnson. Since 2019, he has led the clinical strategy and policy efforts of Alphabet Inc.’s Google Health and Verily healthcare subsidiaries. He is considered a leading expert on clinical trials.

Dr. Califf was confirmed by the Senate in 2016 to lead the FDA in an 89-4 vote.

 

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