January 15, 2016
The Obama administration has chosen Dr. Robert Califf as the next commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but at least one Senator stands in the way of the candidate’s approval by the Senate. Why? Because the ‘FDA approved the recent genetically engineered salmon days after Califf was questioned on the topic.’
Dr. Califf’s appointment has been a contentious one, especially when you consider that in 2014 alone, he collected more than $100,000 in fees from Big Pharma. He’s had financial ties to Merck, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, and Novartis, just to name a few, and he’s even helped to launch at least two other pharmaceutical companies. Califf also had a job at Duke University working with drug companies and the FDA to speed new meds through the approvals process.
Dr. Califf’s appointment was approved by by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee last Tuesday, but Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska is threatening to block Califf’s candidacy over the FDA’s approval of genetically engineered salmon.
The FDA approved the GM fish even though more than 2 million people commented during the ‘open comment’ period on its website. They also will not require AquaBounty, the company responsible for bringing GM fish to market, to label it as such, so consumers wouldn’t even know when they are eating it. Like many Americans, Murkowski is appalled that the GM fish was ever approved by the FDA.