WASHINGTON — President Biden announced on Friday that he would nominate Dr. Robert M. Califf, a former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, to lead the agency again. His decision ends nearly a year of political wrangling as the White House vetted then dropped several candidates after complaints that some were too close to the pharmaceutical industry.
In the end, White House officials might have concluded that they could not find a suitable candidate with no industry ties. Dr. Califf, 70, a respected academic and clinical trial researcher who ran the agency during the last year of the Obama administration, has long been a consultant to drug companies and ran a research center at Duke University that received some funding from the drug industry.
The agency is sorely in need of permanent leadership. Since Margaret Hamburg, who served as commissioner for most of the Obama administration, left in 2015, the F.D.A. has had seven different commissioners — some acting, some permanent — including Dr. Califf, who served for just 11 months after Dr. Hamburg’s departure. And recently, its reputation... see more