Mar 07

FDA is now completely sold out to Big Pharma: New FDA head Robert Califf is the ultimate pharma insider who took money from 23 drug companies:

The FDA has now officially been completely captured by the pharmaceutical industry. With the confirmation of pharma insider Robert Califf as the new head of the FDA, America can look forward to many years of FDA malfeasance in conspiracy with pharmaceutical manufacturers to cover up the deadly side effects of drugs like Vioxx, all while using the full power of the federal government to intimidate, censor and criminalize natural product companies.

From Counterpunch.org:

A disclosure statement on the website of Duke Clinical Research Institute says “Robert M. Califf, MD, reports receiving research grant support from Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson/Scios, Lilly, Merck, and Schering Plough, and consulting fees from Annenberg, Aterovax, Bayer / Ortho McNeil, BMS, Boehringer Ingelheim, GSK, WebMd / theheart.org, Johnson and Johnson / Scios, Kowa Research Institute, McKinsey & Company, Medtronic, Merck, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Sanofi Aventis, and Schering Plough, and has an equity position with NITROX, LLC.”

In disclosure information for a 2013 article in Circulation, Dr. Califf’s also lists financial links to Gambro, Regeneron, Gilead, AstraZeneca, Roche, others companies and equity positions in four medical companies. The medical website Medscape discloses that Dr. Califf “served as a director, officer, partner, employee, advisor, consultant or trustee for Genentech” as well as for Medscape LLC / theheart.org. Portola Pharmaceuticals says Dr. Califf served on the Board of Directors until he was appointed FDA Deputy Commissioner for Medical Products and Tobacco.

Appearing on PBS with Susan Dentzer after Vioxx was withdrawn because of its links to thousands of heart attacks and stroke, Dr. Califf said, “Merck played by the rules from everything that I’ve seen.” He also said, “many of us consult with the pharmaceutical industry, which I think is a very good thing. They need ideas and then the decision about what they do is really up to the person who is funding the study.” What?

In other words, the new head of the FDA, Robert Califf, thinks whichever wealthy corporation funds the studies should be able to call the shots. He thinks that FDA should “consult” with the pharmaceutical industry and that it’s perfectly okay when FDA leaders are on the take from drug companies.

Wow. Apparently the idea that the FDA should REGULATE drug companies is totally foreign to Califf. His position is that the FDA is really just a division of Big Pharma and should help out the industry at every opportunity.

As Counterpunch concludes, “Commissioner Hamburg’s appointment of Dr. Califf amounts to a sad legacy. It also suggests the FDA is no longer even making a pretense at policing industry/government conflicts of interest.”

Defended Vioxx that killed over 50,000 Americans before being withdrawn

From Health Impact News:

It is hard to believe only four senators opposed the confirmation of Robert Califf, who was approved [recently] as the next FDA commissioner.

Califf, chancellor of clinical and translational research at Duke University until recently, received money from 23 drug companies including the giants like Johnson & Johnson, Lilly, Merck, Schering Plough and GSK according to a disclosure statement on the website of Duke Clinical Research Institute.

Not merely receiving research funds, Califf also served as a high level Pharma officer, say press reports. Medscape, the medical website, discloses that Califf “served as a director, officer, partner, employee, advisor, consultant or trustee for Genentech.” Portola Pharmaceuticals says Califf served on its board of directors until leaving for the FDA.

In disclosure information for a 2013 article in Circulation, Califf also lists financial links to Gambro, Regeneron, Gilead, AstraZeneca, Roche and other companies and equity positions in four medical companies. Gilead is the maker of the $1000-a-pill hepatitis C drug AlterNet recently wrote about. This is FDA commissioner material?

Califf has gone on record that collaboration between industry and regulators is a good thing. He told NPR, “Many of us consult with the pharmaceutical industry, which I think is a very good thing. They need ideas and then the decision about what they do is really up to the person who is funding the study.” What?

He is known for defending Vioxx which is reported to have caused at least 50,000 heart attacks and events before its withdrawal. (Merck is said to have known about Vioxx’ cardio effects but marketed the blockbuster drug anyway.)

Califf was also Obama’s choice for FDA Commissioner. Califf’s confirmation amounts to a handover of the agency to Big Pharma.

Now, more than ever, all Americans need to learn the truth about natural medicine because the FDA will be trying to censor it out of existence in order to protect the profits of Big Pharma.

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