LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), which previously criticized FDA Commissioner nominee Dr. Robert Califf as ‘too close for comfort’ to the drug industry, today called on President Barack Obama to immediately withdraw Dr. Califf’s name from consideration for the post as head of the FDA after news broke today that Califf previously ran an academic headhunting company that had deep ties to the drug industry and whose primary mission appears to be have been to avoid or lessen government regulation of the industry. President Obama nominated cardiologist Dr. Robert M. Califf to head the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this year.
The website TheIntercept.com today reported that in addition to taking substantial funding from pharmaceutical companies for his work at Duke and elsewhere, Dr. Califf previously served at a company called Faculty Connection, “…a business that specializes in helping health care companies hire faculty members and other academic researchers to influence regulatory decisions.”
According to Intercept, “The Faculty Connection website touts the experience of its consultants in influencing the FDA.” The news story also notes, “A promotional video posted by Faculty Connection displays images of Califf and boasts that the firm has ‘served over 175 different pharma, biotech medical device firms.’ The video says the firm helps ‘faculty who want to work with industry’ negotiate with health care industry sponsors, along with providing liability protection and record-keeping services.”
“In essence, Dr. Califf, through his service as a board member and consultant to Faculty Connection, has been pimping for the pharmaceutical industry’s efforts to avoid regulation,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “Is this someone President Obama really wants as the watchdog overseeing the health and safety of our nation’s food—and drugs? We call on President Obama to immediately withdraw Dr. Califf’s name from consideration for this crucial post safeguarding the health and safety of the American public.”
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 492,000 individuals in 36 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare and Instagram: @aidshealthcare.
October 15, 2015