A glaring example is his recent nomination of Dr. Robert Califf to become the new head of the FDA when current commissioner Margaret Hamburg steps down in March.
Califf has just received the support of a Senate committee, and is now expected to receive full senate approval of the appointment – despite revelations that he has close ties to the pharmaceutical industry.
Even mainstream media outlets have voiced concerns over the appointment. A number of journalists and observers are questioning the potential impartiality of an appointee who has worked so closely with Big Pharma for so many years.
'Deep financial and intellectual ties'
"Califf is widely respected in the public and private sectors, but his candidacy is seen by some as a threat to the independence and authority of the FDA, thanks to his views on the need to accelerate change and his deep financial and intellectual ties to the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.
"Califf says his salary is contractually underwritten in part by several large pharmaceutical companies, including Merck, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly and Novartis. He also receives as much as $100,000 a year in consulting fees from some of those companies, and from others, according to his 2014 conflict of interest disclosure."
From 2006 to 2015, Califf worked for Faculty Connection, a company which provides 'regulatory consulting' for the medical industry. In other words, its services are designed to help pharmaceutical companies and others within the industry sidestep federal regulations.
Califf is certainly a champion for deregulation of the drug industry. One of his stated goals is to bring the pharmaceutical industry and the regulatory agencies closer so that new drugs can gain approval more quickly and easily.