The road to grabbing the title of FDA commissioner keeps getting tougher for Robert Califf, with senators from both sides of the aisle putting hurdles in front of his path.
Last week, two lawmakers — Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.) — put holds on his nomination, with both voicing concerns over the FDA’s handling of opioid addiction. On Jan. 26, Markey announced that he was placing a hold on Califf’s nomination unless the agency implemented measures to make advisory committees involved in the opioid approval process.
In addition, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has announced he will filibuster the nominee, citing his strong ties to the pharmaceutical industry. He also said he does not believe that Califf is the right person to handle the opioid epidemic.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) also expressed her intent to block the nominee’s approval until she has reassurances from the agency on mandatory labeling requirements for genetically modified salmon. She gave her thumbs up to him during the Senate HELP committee vote, but said she would block him if her concerns about the salmon are not addressed. — Michael Cipriano