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NORD Supports Nomination of Dr. Califf for FDA Commissioner

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The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) today urged the Senate HELP Committee to move quickly to advance the confirmation of Robert Califf, M.D., as the next Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  Dr. Califf’s Senate confirmation hearing is scheduled to take place today. He was nominated by the President in September.

In a letter to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, NORD President and CEO Peter L. Saltonstall previously had endorsed the nomination, saying that FDA needs permanent leadership and that Dr. Califf has the qualifications to provide the needed leadership.

“The United States is at a pivotal moment in terms of public health, and the leadership that Dr. Califf will bring to the FDA will be paramount to assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human drugs, and helping to speed innovations that make medicines more effective, safer, and more affordable,” Saltonstall stated.

Saltonstall also noted that Dr. Califf has been a supporter of the rare disease community and in 2012 spoke at a NORD meeting about research into new therapies for patients with rare diseases.

“Dr. Califf has an insightful understanding of research and a proven record of accomplishment.  His experience at the FDA will enable him to assume leadership of the FDA quickly,” Saltonstall said.

Dr. Califf’s career has focused on vital issues that directly impact patients’ lives. As Vice Chancellor of Clinical and Translational Research at Duke University, Dr. Califf led numerous landmark clinical studies. He became a nationally and internationally recognized expert in cardiovascular medicine, health outcomes research, health care quality, and clinical research. He is one of the nation’s leaders in the growing field of translational research – key to making sure advances in science translate into medical care.

Dr. Califf also has had vast experience working with FDA. Prior to his appointment to Deputy Commissioner for Medical Products and Tobacco, he served as a member of the FDA Cardiorenal Advisory Panel and FDA Science Board’s Subcommittee on Science and Technology.

“We would expect Dr. Califf to continue to support FDA policies that address the concerns of the rare disease community, just as the present acting Commissioner, Stephen Ostroff, M.D., and his predecessor, Margaret Hamburg, M.D., have had a productive relationship with NORD and the rare disease community.”