Today, senators will have the opportunity to confirm Dr. Robert M. Califf as commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — and they should. Our nation faces critical challenges to public health. Though the pandemic is most urgent, there remain an array of other unmet needs. The FDA is vital to their solutions; more than a year into a new administration, it is long past time to have confirmed leadership at the FDA.
Senators recognize that the public wants to see decisive steps to move our nation beyond the pandemic. This includes advancing safe and effective vaccines to protect both children and adults, as well as to prevent future variants; converting “emergency use” therapies and tests to products we can use reliably to keep COVID contained for the long term; hardening our supply chains and advanced biologics manufacturing capabilities to prevent shortages; and communicating clearly with the public about these dynamic issues. Now is not the time for prolonged periods of acting leaders at the FDA and our other critical public health agencies.