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What do you think of the nominee for FDA Commissioner?

A look at industry reaction toward President Obama's pick to lead the federal agency

President Obama recently nominated Robert Califf, MD, to take over the spot as FDA commissioner.

Currently, Califf serves as FDA's deputy commissioner for medical products and tobacco. Before that, he was the vice-chancellor for clinical and translational research at Duke University in Durham, N.C., where he also co-chaired the Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative, a public-private partnership co-founded by Duke and the FDA.

So what do people think of this appointment?

That's exactly what MedPage Today set out to learn.

For the most part, the reactions were positive.

"He has a very good understanding of industry and academia, and think that will serve him well," Caleb Alexander, MD, Co-Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness in Baltimore, told MedPage Today. "He built and grew the Duke Clinical Research Institute into a behemoth, so he has deep experience in drug development. On the medical products side, he has a deep and comprehensive understanding ... from manufacturers and academia, so I think he'll be very well suited there."

However, one thing the article pointed out was his ties to the industry and how that might leave a bad taste with some people.

"If he is confirmed, he will need to show his independence from industry in order to protect the safety of patients and the integrity of the FDA as a public health agency," Diana Zuckerman, PhD, president of the National Center for Health Research, a think tank, told the news outlet. "This will be especially important because the 21st Century Cures Act, which passed the House overwhelmingly and is being revamped in the Senate, has the strong support of pharmaceutical and device companies, as well as academic researchers who depend on industry funding, as Dr. Califf did when he was at Duke."

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