Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Robert Califf is disputing a federal payment database that shows he received a financial benefit from a major drugmaker while on a trip last year.
According to agency records, Califf received $363 last year from pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline for lodging and food expenses, a benefit that could be a violation of agency policy. Those records show the benefit was received before Califf became the commissioner, but while he was an employee of the FDA.
But the FDA said that the commissioner is disputing the payment, and GSK said that the payment was for a 2014 trip. The payments were $341 in travel and lodging to go to an event on Dec. 15. He also received about $22 for food.
"Commissioner Califf has filed a dispute with CMS in regard to the reported data," according to an FDA spokesperson. "Throughout his government service, he has strictly adhered to federal ethics requirements and has no financial ties to industry."
GSK also told the Examiner that the payments were for a 2014 event, before Califf went to work at the FDA. The reason it got reported now was that an external vendor was "delayed in sending us the invoice for the payments and transfers of value, and as such the information was reported in our 2015 data," the company said.
The database does show another payment to Califf in 2015 of about $5,000 from AstraZeneca, but that was made before Califf joined the agency.