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Abrams writes: "Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders announced Tuesday that he is formally blocking President Barack Obama's nominee to lead the Food and Drug Administration, citing concerns about his ties to the pharmaceutical industry and a lack of commitment to lowering drug prices."

Bernie Sanders. (photo: Karen Bleier/Getty Images)
Bernie Sanders. (photo: Karen Bleier/Getty Images)

Bernie Sanders Blocks Obama's Food and Drug Administration Nominee Over Pharmaceutical Ties

By Abigail Abarams, International Business Times

27 January 16


.S. President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders will meet Wednesday at the White House, according to the White House press secretary. Josh Earnest released a brief statement Tuesday evening announcing the meeting.

The Vermont senator and the president "will meet privately in the Oval Office and there will be no formal agenda," according to the statement from Earnest.

Obama on Monday praised Sanders' rival and Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton as being "extraordinarily experienced," though it was not a formal endorsement of Obama's former secretary of state. 

Original story:

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders announced Tuesday that he is formally blocking President Barack Obama’s nominee to lead the Food and Drug Administration, citing concerns about his ties to the pharmaceutical industry and a lack of commitment to lowering drug prices. The Democratic presidential candidate expressed opposition to Robert Califf last year, when Obama announced the doctor would be his pick, MSNBC reported.

“Dr. Califf’s extensive ties to the pharmaceutical industry give me no reason to believe that he would make the FDA work for ordinary Americans, rather than just the CEOs of pharmaceutical companies,” Sanders said in a statement Tuesday, six days before he faces Hillary Clinton in the crucial Iowa caucuses.

Califf, a cardiologist and researcher at Duke University, has been deputy commissioner at the FDA since last February. Obama nominated him to be the agency’s next commissioner in September.

The decision to place a hold on Obama’s nominee comes one day after Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) also put a hold on Califf’s nomination. The nomination passed the Senate Health Committee earlier this month, but Markey said he will block the nomination until the FDA changes its approval process for opioid painkillers, the Hill reported. The agency decided last year to approve the use of OxyContin for children as young as 11 years old, and Markey wants the agency to promise to hold advisory committees before making similar decisions in the future.

Sanders said he agreed with Markey’s concerns, emphasizing that “the FDA must change the way it approaches addiction.” The Vermont senator has made the pharmaceutical industry one of the many establishment targets of his White House bid.

“I also strongly believe that at a time when millions of Americans cannot afford to purchase the prescription drugs they require, we need a leader at the FDA who is prepared to stand up to the drug companies. We need someone who will work to substantially lower drug prices, implement rules to safely import brand-name drugs from Canada and hold companies accountable who defraud our government,” he said in the statement. your social media marketing partner


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+32 # Jayceecool 2016-01-27 10:26
Feel the Bern!! And this situation raises even more questions about the Obama administration (read: establishment Democrats)...
+16 # HowardMH 2016-01-27 12:06
Hillary is a creature of Wall St. Did you see the donation chart that Rachel showed on her program last night. Hillary donations $6.2 Million from Wall Street, $118 Thousand from Iowa. At one of her recent BS Session in Iowa she told the people, get out there and vote for me and I will work for you every day. Sure she will $6.2 M = Wall Street, $118K = Iowa -- such a touch decision as to who she will support.
+30 # Texas Aggie 2016-01-27 10:39
When pharmaceutical companies everywhere are raising prices for their already overpriced products (but not the products that are off patent and have competition), someone needs to be able to hold them responsible. Otherwise you would have the same situation as Wall St. where the person supposedly overseeing them (Mary Jo White) is in bed with them.

For example, Pfizer just raised the prices on over 100 of their products.
+14 # economagic 2016-01-27 10:59
The parallel between Califf and White is apt.
-31 # MidwestTom 2016-01-27 11:23
Where is Bernie on Immigration. There is more and more evidence that Obama is secretly admitting 100,000 Muslim immigrants per year, maybe more; but the government statistics reported here confirm the action:
+9 # CL38 2016-01-27 13:34
You post similar anti-Bernie trashing comments constantly, On every issue. What's your agenda?

Who do you support for President??
+7 # Farafalla 2016-01-27 15:10
Ah MWT: I still think you should get the Troll of the Year award on RSN.

Yes, there is a vast conspiracy to import jihadi terrorists from the Middle East. The plan is to overthrow the Trump regime and install Sharia Law throughout. Once they secure that, it's all about stealing our precious bodily fluids.
+4 # rhgreen 2016-01-27 20:35
MWT, I severely doubt that "Obama is secretly admitting 100,000 Muslim immigrants per year", but if he is then I have no problem with it. It would probably be some sort of family reunification thing which anyone legally in the US can use. But, MWT, what is your problem? Did someone whack your mother with a Qu'ran when she was carrying you?
+24 # tswhiskers 2016-01-27 11:28
I applaud Bernie's hold on Califf's monination to head the FDA. Indeed prescription drugs are priced much too high for all but the rich to afford. But I am also disappointed that while the FDA does not hesitate to investigate the effects of vitamins and supplements on health, the pharmaceutical industry is allowed to carry on despite the thousands of people who die each year from prescription drugs. Yes, allowances must be made for human stupidity, but many of these deaths are caused even though people have taken them properly. I think it is too true that the FDA's purpose these days is to protect Big Pharma and not American citizens.
+12 # Robbee 2016-01-27 12:48
now that's what i'm talkin' about! - go bernie!
+14 # CL38 2016-01-27 13:37
The ONLY candidate standing up for people, The only candidate who deserves the Presidency!
+7 # rhgreen 2016-01-27 20:53
Good going Bernie! (and also Ed Markey). Somewhere there is a right-wing Republican crying out "What's wrong with someone with ties to the pharmaceutical industry running the FDA? Then that branch of government can be run like a business!" Right. Exactly.
+8 # angelfish 2016-01-27 22:52
Bernie Sanders is one of the FEW in Washington who STILL stands up to power when it comes to looking out for the American people and their best interests! Thank you Senator. May God Speed you into the White House with a cooperative and Progressive Congress in November! FEEL the Bern!

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