At a time when the American people pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs and as drug companies continue to be the most powerful special interest in Washington, we need leadership at the FDA that is finally willing to stand up to the greed and power of the pharmaceutical industry.
Not only have the drug companies spent over $4.5 billion on lobbying and hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign contributions over the past 20 years, they also have created a revolving door between the FDA and the industry. Shockingly, nine out of the last ten FDA Commissioners went on to work for the pharmaceutical industry or to serve on a prescription drug company’s board of directors.
Unfortunately, Dr. Califf is not the exception to that rule. After leaving the FDA in 2017, he received consulting fees from Merck, Biogen and Eli Lilly. According to his financial disclosure form, he owns up to $8 million in the stocks of major drug companies. That is exactly the close relationship Big Pharma has exploited to regulate the FDA, instead of the FDA regulating them.
The Covid-19 pandemic has made clearer than ever the choice between pharmaceutical profits and the health of our people. In this critical moment, Dr. Califf is not the leader Americans need at the FDA and I will oppose his nomination.
Sen. Bernard “Bernie” Sanders is an American politician serving as the senior United States senator from Vermont, a seat he has held since 2007.