Dr. Robert Califf’s tenure as commissioner of the FDA, which formally began only last February, will reportedly end less than a year after it began.
Califf, like most political appointees in Washington, is slated to resign Jan. 20 ahead of the swearing-in of Donald Trump as president, according to Politico, citing FDA spokeswoman Jennifer Rodriguez.
Deputy commissioner Dr. Stephen Ostroff is slated to take over on an interim basis after the inauguration, according to Stat.
The leading candidate to replace Califf is said to be venture capitalist Dr. Scott Gottlieb, an Obamacare foe who’s also a former deputy commissioner at the federal safety watchdog. Gottlieb, a fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, is also an assistant professor at the New York University School of Medicine and a former practicing physician and hospitalist.
At the FDA Gottlieb served as senior adviser for medical technology, director of medical policy development and deputy commissioner for medical & scientific affairs. Before that he was a senior policy adviser at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Trump is also said to be considering Jim O’Neill, a libertarian and Silicon Valley investor with no medical experience, as head of the FDA and that has some healthcare experts concerned.
O’Neill has made controversial statements about the federal safety watchdog, including in 2014 when he said that the agency should no longer evaluate whether medical devices or drugs are effective when considering them for approval. That statement was viewed harshly by experts, with some saying that it demonstrates how O’Neill’s lack of medical experience could be a problem. A medical background is usually considered a prerequisite for the position as FDA chair.