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Obama’s New Pick to Head the FDA is an “Ultimate Insider” for Big Pharma

By On October 26, 2015
Dr. Robert Califf. PHOTO: Meddeviceonline.com

Dr. Robert Califf. PHOTO: Meddeviceonline.com

Over the years people have become more and more disenfranchised with the Food and Drug Administration over their ties with Monsanto and inability to act in the best interests of the American people. But did you know that Monsanto itself has strong ties with Big Pharma?

Many people don’t realize that the former “sciences” division of Monsanto once spun-off into Pharmacia, which later merged with the massive drug company Pfizer.

The dominance of pharmaceutical and agrochemical companies like Pfizer and Monsanto has yielded disastrous results for the health of the American people, and now it has been announced that President Barack Obama will continue business as usual with the appointment of a Big Pharma “Mega Lobbyist” by the name of Dr. Robert Califf to head the FDA.

Califf and the Big Pharma Connection

With a degree from Duke University and a pedigree of founding and running a $200 million center than manages clinical drug trials across the world, Califf has the type of resume that looks impressive to people not well-versed to the true ways of the pharmaceutical industry, whose drugs kill over 100,000 people from correctly taken medications each year.

But as millions of Americans are looking deeper into natural remedies and shunning processed food in favor of local organics, the system has not changed, as evidenced by Califf’s appointment and recent trade deals like the TTP and TTIP, as well as the DARK Act to ban mandatory GMO labeling.

Califf has been called the pharmaceutical industry’s “ultimate insider” making his appointment the “ultimate conflict of interest” in a nation already hampered by the overuse of prescription drugs.

As the New York Times’ recent investigation found, Califf listed seven drug companies and a device maker that paid him for consulting, and six others that partly supported his university salary.

An article on his appointment by Common Dreams had this to say:

A recent exposé by the New York Times revealed that Califf’s multi-million dollar research center at Duke received more than 60 percent of its funding from the industry, while his 2014 financial disclosure documents showed drug companies like Eli Lilly, Merck, and Novartis paid him hefty fees for “consulting” and in salary support.

And as the Boston Globe reported on Wednesday, Califf also took the “highly unusual” step of removing his name from a series of scientific papers criticizing the FDA’s oversight of clinical trials—”a decision that could raise ethical concerns,” explains the Globe‘s Sheila Kaplan.

Already, Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders has slammed the appointment, saying the following:

Sanders continued on Friday, “Instead of listening to the demands of the pharmaceutical industry and their 1,400 lobbyists, it is about time that the FDA and Congress started listening to the overwhelming majority of the American people who believe that medicine is too expensive.”

“It is time for the United States to join the rest of the industrialized world by implementing prescription drug policies that work for everybody, not just the CEOs of the pharmaceutical industry,” he said.

Despite the fact that drugs are continually proven dangerous (and overpriced for that matter), Califf wants to remove barriers to their approval so that more “innovative” drugs can make it to market. But is he in too deep with the drug companies to be remotely fair and balanced at a time when people are demanding a different approach? 

For more on Califf’s controversial appointment, check out this article from the Times as well as this one from Common Dreams.