Biden Administration Considering Califf as FDA Head

October 14, 2021
Kenny Walter

Kenny Walter is an editor with HCPLive. Prior to joining MJH Life Sciences in 2019, he worked as a digital reporter covering nanotechnology, life sciences, material science and more with R&D Magazine. He graduated with a degree in journalism from Temple University in 2008 and began his career as a local reporter for a chain of weekly newspapers based on the Jersey shore. When not working, he enjoys going to the beach and enjoying the shore in the summer and watching North Carolina Tar Heel basketball in the winter.

Dr. Robert Califf previously ran the FDA in 2016 and 2017 under former President Barack Obama.

The Biden administration is vetting former US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Robert Califf, MD, as a potential candidate to once again lead the agency, according to various media reports.

According to a CNN report, the White House is in the process of vetting Califf to take the place of current Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock, MD.

The final decision has not yet been made or announced, but Woodcock is legally unable to remain as acting commissioner past Nov. 15. President Joseph Biden is expected to make an announcement regarding Woodcock’s replacement in the coming weeks.

The next commissioner will likely be involved in a number of critical decisions in navigating the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the possible approval of booster vaccinations, vaccinations for children, increasing testing capabilities, and new treatments for COVID-19, to go along with decisions on electronic cigarettes and other drug approvals.

Califf, a cardiologists by trade, was appointed Deputy Commissioner of the FDA’ Office of Medical Products and Tobacco in 2015, after a 35 year career at Duke University.

In 2016, Califf was confirmed by the US Senate with an 89-4 vote to be the next FDA commissioner after being nominated by President Barack Obama. He served from February 2016 until January 20, 2017.

Woodcock was appointed as acting commissioner following the resignation of Stephen Hahn, MD, at the very end of the Trump administration.

Woodcock previously served as the agency’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) director. She also was a member of the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine response team Operation Warp Speed.