Bernie Sanders places hold on FDA commissioner nominee, citing ties to Big Pharma

Surging Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont said he will try to block the nomination of President Obama's nominee to be the next FDA commissioner, Dr. Robert Califf, currently the deputy commissioner for medical products and tobacco. "Dr. Califf's extensive ties to the pharmaceutical industry give me no reason to believe that he would make the FDA work for ordinary Americans, rather than just the CEOs of pharmaceutical companies," Sanders said. Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) also said he is placing a hold on Califf's nomination because he wants the FDA to overhaul its process for approving opioid painkillers, whose addictive nature is leading to an epidemic of overdose deaths and sparking a national conversation about drug abuse. Califf is still expected to win the Senate's approval. Although Califf's ties to Big Pharma are the chief concern of some Democrats on Capitol Hill, the cardiologist has also had a hand in the creation of pro device industry sections of the 21st Century Act that are being promoted by AdvaMed. More