Senate votes soon: Stop the Big Pharma insider poised to become FDA chief

CREDO action
Tell the Senate: A vote for Dr. Califf is a vote for Big Pharma

Petition to the United States Senate:
"Oppose the nomination of Dr. Robert Califf as head of the Food and Drug Administration. At a time of rising prescription drug prices and safety risks we need a champion for American families, not an insider so closely tied to the pharmaceutical industry."

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Dear 5849376,

Tell the Senate: A vote for Dr. Califf is a vote for Big Pharma

Tens of thousands of Americans are demanding a head of the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) with the guts to stand up to the pharmaceutical companies. But we are running out of time to stop the nomination of Dr. Robert Califf, "the ultimate industry insider."1

CREDO members have made more than 10,000 phone calls to the Senate demanding a "no" vote on Califf, joining more than 140,000 who have stood against his nomination. Now, our friends at the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) are turning up the pressure against this nomination by calling on President Obama to withdraw Califf and for senators to vote against him.

POGO conducted an in-depth investigation of Califf's record, and found concerns that he had chaired drug trials that "put commercial considerations ahead of health and safety." POGO also declared Califf's response to Sen. Elizabeth Warren's tough questions, "incomplete and possibly misleading."2

A final Senate vote on Califf is expected within days. This is our last chance to raise the stakes and make sure our senators know that Americans agree with POGO: Dr. Robert Califf is not fit to be the FDA commissioner.

Tell the Senate: A vote for Dr. Califf is a vote for Big Pharma. Click here to sign the petition.

Americans pay the highest prices for prescription drugs of anyone in the world – and the cost is going up, 12 percent on average in the last year and in some cases nearly 1,000 percent.3 Instead of fighting for lower prices, Congress and the Federal Drug Administration routinely side with Big Pharma.

But instead of picking a FDA chair with guts, President Obama nominated Dr. Califf, who "has deeper ties to the pharmaceutical industry than any F.D.A. commissioner in recent memory," according to the New York Times. He has an extensive record of close collaboration with pharmaceutical giants, and recently described regulation as a "barrier," not a safeguard for public health. While he donates his Big Pharma speaking and consulting fees to charity, his lucrative salary at Duke University is directly supported by companies like Merck, Novartis, and Eli Lilly.4

In fact, in the conflict of interest section of one recent article, Califf admitted to receiving financial support from more than 20 companies.5 No matter how good a doctor he is or how fair he attempts to be, Califf is simply too connected to industry. If he becomes the next head of the FDA, his former sponsors and friends in the pharmaceutical industry will have a friendly ear in a major position of power, threatening our financial well-being and physical health.

Tell the Senate: A vote for Dr. Califf is a vote for Big Pharma. Click here to sign the petition.

This is exactly how big corporations go about capturing control. It's no wonder that Sen. Bernie Sanders declared that Califf simply wasn't someone who is "prepared to stand up to the pharmaceutical companies and work to substantially lower drug prices."6 We need a major outcry right now, before it is too late.

Congress has passed multiple bills to speed up FDA approvals, including allowing drug companies to conduct their own tests – even though some estimate that 85 to 90 percent of the new drugs on the market since the 1990's don't deliver better clinical performance, but simply make money for their creators. And meanwhile, the industry has been wracked with scandals over drug safety and hidden risks.7

We can't let Big Pharma get away with installing an industry insider as head of the Federal Drug Administration. The Senate must block this nomination.

Tell the Senate: A vote for Dr. Califf is a vote for Big Pharma. Click below to sign the petition:

Thank you for speaking out,

Murshed Zaheed, Deputy Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Add your name:

Sign the petition ►
  1. Sabrina Tavernise, "F.D.A. Nominee Califf's Ties to Drug Makers Worry Some," The New York Times, September 19, 2015.
  2. Danielle Brian, "POGO Asks President to Withdraw FDA Nominee,", February 9, 2016.
  3. "Sanders, Cummings Introduce Comprehensive Legislation to Lower Soaring Drug Prices."
  4. Tavernise, "F.D.A. Nominee Califf's Ties to Drug Makers Worry Some."
  5. Ibid.
  6. Wagner, "Bernie Sanders to oppose Obama's nominee to lead the FDA."
  7. Caroline Beaton, "Holding Big Pharma Accountable: Why Suing the Pharmaceutical Industry Isn't Working,", October 13, 2015

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