Controversial pick confirmed for FDA commissioner


Dr. Robert Califf was confirmed as the head the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday on a 50-46 vote, with liberals like Sen. Bernie Sanders voting against Califf, and six Republicans, including Sen. Lisa Murkowski, voting in favor of him.

Murkowski was joined by Republicans Sens. Roy Blunt, Richard Burr, Susan Collins, Mitt Romney and Patrick Toomey.

Voting against Califf was Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Ed Markey (Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Maggie Hassan (N.H.), and Sanders.

Califf is a Duke University cardiologist with ties to the pharmaceutical industry, who when he was head of the agency during the Obama Administration, expanded the use of chemical abortion medication.

The FDA has been without a permanent commissioner since President Joe Biden took the White House in 2021.

Sanders wrote his reasons for voting against Califf: “I am disappointed that Dr. Califf has been confirmed to be the new FDA commissioner. I opposed his nomination because I was not convinced that he would stand up to the greed of the pharmaceutical industry, one of the most powerful special interests in Washington. In my view, it is unacceptable that the American people pay, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. At a time when one in five Americans cannot afford to pay for the medications that have been prescribed to them, we have got to do everything we can to lower the skyrocketing price of prescription drugs. A life-saving drug does no good if a sick patient cannot afford it.”

In 2015, Murkowski blocked Califf’s nomination because of the FDA’s approval of genetically modified salmon. I 2016, she lifted her hold after receiving assurances that the FDA took the matter seriously, she said. In 2015, the FDA had approved AquaBounty’s AquAdvantage salmon, the first-ever genetically modified animal to be approved for farming. It grows twice as fast as traditionally farmed salmon.


  1. murkowski continues to vote against the wishes of her constituents. murkowski has not represented the people in Alaska for many years

  2. We all know what farmed salmon is in any capacity. GARBAGE. Get rid of it along with swamp creature Murkowski!

  3. FDA is nothing if it isn’t a corporate funded and controlled rubber stamp for Big Pharma. We are seemingly helpless to do anything about it here in far off Alaska, but wait, we can at least Dump Lisa!

  4. Dr. Califf has ties to the pharmaceutical industry. Once again Murkowski is favoring the pharmaceutical industry in voting for Dr. Califf.
    Wonder how much stock Murkowski owns in the Pharmaceutical industry? Not only a rhino but lining her pockets $$$$$$$

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