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FDA to get new director

The US Senate has formally approved the appointment of Robert Califf as the new commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The chair of the senate health committee, Lamar Alexander, acknowledges the importance of the appointment as the regulator responds to new challenges in a globalised economy. Alexander says: ‘The FDA affects the lives of nearly every single American and regulates about a quarter of all consumer spending in the US over $4 trillion [€3.65 billion] annually.’

‘Americans need competent leadership to head this significant agency, and to help bring safe drugs and devices to market faster and protect our nation’s food supply. The senate should consider Dr Califf’s nomination quickly to fill this important role.’

For the past year, Califf has served as the FDA’s deputy commissioner for medical products and tobacco. Prior to that he worked as a researcher at Duke University. If appointed, Califf would take over from acting head of the FDA Stephen Ostroff, who has filled the role since preceding commissioner Margaret Hamburg stood down in February 2015.

Despite being selected by US president Barack Obama, Califf’s suitability has been challenged by Bernie Sanders – a candidate for the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination.

In a report on ABC News Sanders says: ‘At a time when millions of Americans cannot afford to purchase the prescription drugs they need, we need a new leader at the FDA who is prepared to stand up to the pharmaceutical companies and work to substantially lower drug prices. Unfortunately, I have come to the conclusion that Dr Califf is not that person.’

This article comes from Food Contact World, which provides exclusive news and analysis on developments in digital print trends, markets, and technologies.