In Saturday’s New York Times, Sabrina Tavernise describes the close industry ties of Dr. Robert Califf, a cardiologist and researcher recently tapped by the Obama administration to head the FDA. In a conflict of interest statement published last year, Califf “declared financial support from more than 20 companies,” leading some public health advocates to “question whether his background could tilt him in the direction of an industry he would be in charge of supervising.” Tavernise points to a presentation Califf gave on “Disrupting Clinical Research: Transforming a System” in 2014 where he singled out regulation as a barrier to research and innovation. “I think it illuminates his thinking,” Daniel Carpenter, a Harvard professor who studies the FDA, said of the slide. “In a sense, he’s the ultimate industry insider.”
Is there really a QUESTION that his ties will bias him? Is there really a question that those ties were fundamental to his even getting the nomination?