By Cathy Zhang
Yesterday, the Senate confirmed Dr. Robert Califf for his second, non-consecutive term as Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), bringing a drawn out and contentious process to a close. Califf will be the second-ever FDA Commissioner to serve non-consecutive terms, and the first to have been confirmed by the Senate on two separate occasions.
Prior to his first term as Commissioner during the Obama administration, Califf, a cardiologist, served as the FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Medical Products and Tobacco.
In addition to fielding scrutiny over mifepristone access, reviewing opioid regulations, and handling COVID-19 vaccine and treatment approvals in the midst of a pandemic, Califf will be overseeing the FDA at a time when public health advocates are anticipating agency action on several tobacco issues.
Two major developments expected in this area include a menthol ban and greater regulation of e-cigarettes.