Robert Califf, the new confirmed FDA commissioner, is being scrutinized for his close ties to the pharmaceutical industry.
Although nominated by the President several months ago many politicians, led by Bernie Sanders, were able to delay his appointment until now. These opponents believe it is questionable whether he could be impartial in his duties:
Sanders had several questions for Dr. Califf:
“I don’t think it is a coincidence that last year the pharmaceutical industry spent 250 millions dollars in lobbying and campaign contributions and employed some 1400 lobbyists. Do you think, Dr. Califf, that that type of expenditure has any impact on the fact that we pay, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs?”
“Why do we pay the highest prices in the world, by far, for prescription drugs?”
What’s more, Califf has helped develop drugs with big pharmaceutical companies. One such company, Genentech, has been known to charge thousands of dollars for medications that cost less than $100 to produce. He has also served on the board of directors of at least one pharmaceutical company, Portola Pharmaceuticals.
With all these major ties to Big Pharma it’s no wonder Califf’s loyalties are being questioned.