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Bernie Joins GOP, Manchin in Opposing Biden’s FDA Nominee

'Dr. Califf’s nomination and his significant ties to the pharmaceutical industry take us backwards not forward... '

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said that he will join Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Republican Senators in opposing President Joe Biden’s Food and Drug Administration nominee, The Epoch Times reported.

Biden’s nominee, Robert Califf, held the second-highest ranking position in the FDA, Deputy Commissioner, from January 2015 to February 2016. Former President Barack Obama nominated him for commissioner, and the Senate confirmed him 89-4.

Califf resigned from the FDA on January 20, 2017.

Sanders said at a nomination hearing that nine of the previous 10 FDA commissioners had worked for pharmaceutical companies or sat on their boards.

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“Unfortunately, Dr. Califf, you are not the exception to that rule,” Sanders said. “Since you left the FDA in 2017, you have made several hundred thousand dollars from pharmaceutical companies and have received consulting fees from” several more.

Califf also disclosed to the Senate that he owns stocks in pharmaceutical companies worth millions of dollars.

“At a time when the American people are outraged by the high cost of prescription drugs, deeply disturbed about what happened with Perdue and oxycontin,” Sanders said, “what kind of comfort can you give to the American people when you have been so closely tied to the pharmaceutical industry yourself?

“How are they going to believe you’re going to be an independent and strong voice against this enormously powerful special interest?” he asked.

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Califf responded that he had signed the Biden administration’s ethics pledge.

Sanders did not mention the most lucrative collusion between the pharmaceutical indsutry and the federal government in history: the COVID-19 shots, which have given Pfizer, for example, more than $36 billion in revenue over the past year.

“Dr. Califf is not the leader Americans need at the FDA and I will oppose his nomination,” Sanders said in a statement after the hearing.

With Sanders and Manchin’s opposition, two Republicans would need to vote for Califf’s confirmation.

Manchin said that Califf’s appointment would continue the problems in federal health regulation that led to the opioid epidemic.

“I have made it abundantly clear that correcting the culture at the FDA is critical to changing the tide of the opioid epidemic,” he said. “Instead, Dr. Califf’s nomination and his significant ties to the pharmaceutical industry take us backwards not forward.”

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