There is a new commissioner of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
Earlier today, the U.S. Senate voted 89-4 in favor of confirming Dr. Robert Califf as its new commissioner.
Yesterday, Califf, the deputy director of FDA’s Office of Medical Products and Tobacco, passed a procedural vote in the Senate, 80-6. He is expected to testify before the House Appropriations Committee on Thursday.
The Senate today has confirmed Dr. Robert Califf to be the next Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
— U.S. FDA (@US_FDA) February 24, 2016
Numerous Senators had indicated they would hold up hearings due to various concerns ranging from opioids to genetically modified fish, but the vote yesterday means that there will be no more than 30 hours of debate over Califf’s hearing. halfwheel has learned a vote could take place within the next hour.
Califf is a Duke-educated cardiologist who spent most of his career at Duke before joining FDA last year.
He replaces Dr. Margaret Hamburg who announced her resignation last year after six years at the head of FDA.
Dr. Stephen Ostroff has been in the role of acting commissioner since.
This is of particular interest to cigar smokers because FDA is expected to announce its final ruling on the potential regulation of premium cigars and other unregulated tobacco products in the immediate future.
Many legislative experts had previously told halfwheel that FDA might wait to announce its finalized rules until it had a permanent commissioner, although support for that theory has wained in recent months.
For more information about FDA’s potential regulation of premium cigars, please visit halfwheel.com/fda.
Update (Feb. 24, 2016) Califf was confirmed as the commissioner.