Former Vice President Joe Biden announced on Thursday that he has selected Robert Califf, an oncologist and university professor from Duke University Medical Center, to serve as acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.
The choice represents a break with President Donald Trump, who has sought to shrink the role of the federal government and open up the government drug approval process.
In January, Trump nominated FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, a fellow physician who has sought to trim regulations and consumer protections that he argued impact the drug industry.
During the campaign, Trump frequently criticized President Barack Obama for allowing him to ignore some drug regulations, even though much of the drug industry’s largesse went to his 2016 campaign. “I’m a very good doctor,” Trump said, when pressed on which patients deserved health care and which did not. “They gave me lots of drugs,” he told Bloomberg News in June.
In October, President Trump chided Democrats on Capitol Hill for opposing his nomination of Califf. “He’s a total pro,” Trump said, according to a pool report from the time. “He has an incredible mind. He doesn’t have any political connections, which is very important.”
Vice President Biden said in a statement that Califf “has consistently earned the confidence of all of us at the FDA” under President Barack Obama’s administration.