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Senator Hassan Statement on Decision to Vote No on FDA Commissioner Nominee, Robert Califf

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH), a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, issued the following statement announcing that she would vote no on President Biden’s nomination of Dr. Robert Califf to serve as the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA):


“New Hampshire has been hit especially hard by the substance misuse epidemic and it is imperative that we have a strong FDA Commissioner in place who recognizes the role that the agency's decisions played in fueling this crisis.


"After careful review of Dr. Califf’s record, including questioning him during last month’s nomination hearing, it does not appear that things would be different under his leadership and I will be voting no on his nomination.


“I look forward to continuing to work with the administration to end the substance misuse crisis and make sure that New Hampshire has the resources and funding it needs to tackle this epidemic head on.”


Senator Hassan has repeatedly expressed concerns with the FDA’s past decision-making processes for the approval and labeling of opioid drugs. During last month’s nomination hearing, Senator Hassan called upon Dr. Califf to address the inaction of the FDA to address opioid misuse and the failure to address issues of labeling guidance for prescriptions. She also pressed Dr. Califf on the FDA’s approval of OxyContin.


Senators Hassan and Ed Markey (D-MA) previously wrote to the FDA calling for a fuller accounting of the FDA’s past decision-making processes. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Hassan, and colleagues also previously wrote to President Biden detailing concerns with the FDA’s previous decision making for prescription opioids and calling for new leadership at the FDA.