The US Senate has confirmed Robert Califf as commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration in a 50 to 46 vote, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Califf previously served as FDA commissioner during the Obama Administration and President Joe Biden nominated him in November to return to the position. While Califf was considered a "safe choice" at the time, as the Associated Press reported insiders said, some lawmakers raised concerns about his record on opioids and his embodiment of the revolving door between the agency and the industry it regulates, as Califf joined Verily after previously leaving FDA and, as CNBC notes, owns stock in a number of pharmaceutical companies and serves on the board of directors of two. Other lawmakers, the Journal notes, opposed Califf's nomination over abortion pill access.
The Journal reports that six Republicans voted for Califf's confirmation, while four Democrats and Senator Bernie Sanders, an Independent, voted against his confirmation.
With his confirmation, it adds that Califf must now grapple with the agency's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the authorization of vaccines for children under the age of 5, a decision the agency recently delayed.