Former U.S. Sen. Tom Daschle’s abrupt departure last week as the nominee for health secretary should not derail Dr. Rob Califf’s chances to become the next Food and Drug Administration commissioner, a former FDA staffer said.

"It should not slow down the process," said Dr. Peter Pitts, a former FDA associate commissioner. "The president needs to show that health care is still a priority."

President Barack Obama is considering tapping Califf, a cardiologist and the author of Duke University’s medical research study based in Kannapolis and Durham, as FDA commissioner.

Appointing someone now would show that Obama expects the FDA commissioner to work independently, said Pitts, president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest.

For details, see the report.