Can new FDA Commissioner transcend industry ties?

The announcement that Dr. Robert Califf has been nominated to become the next head of the FDA offers no encouragement that the failures and corruption of the FDA will be addressed in the foreseeable future. As Sabrina Tavernise writes in the New York Times, “…he has deeper ties to the pharmaceutical industry than any F.D.A. commissioner in recent memory, and some public health advocates question whether his background could tilt him in the direction of an industry he would be in charge of supervising.” As previously noted the FDA is a failed public agency with unanswered criticisms of regulatory approval of worthless and harmful drugs, flawed criteria for drug approval, lack of investigation of unpublished results of drug research products, and absence of oversight of the conclusions, methods, and conflicts-of-interest in published research studies. The agency’s uncritical use of R & D figures supplied by the industry makes the agency an unwitting apologist for outlandish U.S. drug prices. Hopefully Dr. Califf will be able to transcend his relationship with the pharmaceutical industry and use his knowledge and clinical sympathies to create a more honest, transparent, and effective agency.

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