President Barack Obama's nominee to head the Food and Drug Administration is facing friendly fire, with Democratic presidential candidate Bernard Sanders and Massachusetts Democrat Edward J. Markey both placing a hold on the nomination.
Sanders said Tuesday that Robert Califf, currently serving as deputy commissioner at the FDA, is too closely tied to the pharmaceutical industry. Califf ran a research operation while at Duke University that received funding from that industry. "At a time when millions of Americans cannot afford to purchase the prescription drugs they require, we need a leader at the FDA who is prepared to stand up to the drug companies," Sanders, an independent from Vermont who caucuses with the Senate Democrats, said in a statement. "We need someone who will work to substantially lower drug prices, implement rules to safely import brand-name drugs from Canada and hold companies accountable who defraud our government."