On December 14, Dr. Robert Califf, President Joe Biden’s pick to be the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), faced questions from senators about how he would lead the agency over the next three years.

There had been some expectation that legislators would dig into Califf—a cardiologist who previously served as the deputy commissioner of the FDA’s Office of Medical Products and Tobacco, President Barack Obama’s FDA commissioner, and the head of medical strategy at Alphabet, Google’s parent company—over his relationship with the pharmaceutical industry.

But the initial hearing amounted to a largely collegial affair, as Dr. Califf explained how he would streamline COVID treatments and tests, tackle misinformation on social media, and address an overdose crisis that has worsened during the pandemic.

Anyone hoping for a clear indication of how Califf would position the FDA around tobacco harm reduction was disappointed, and observers were left to pick through limited past indications of his potential future impact in the field.

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Alex Norcia – Filter – 2022-01-04.

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