Washington, DC – Today, Accountable Pharma released the following statement on the new Department of Health and Human Services memorandum, signed by Secretary Alex Azar, that states that from this point forward, the signing of “any new rules regarding the nation’s foods, medicines, medical devices and other products, including vaccines” will “not be permitted by the Food and Drug Administration or other agencies or career public health officials” and must only be done through Secretary Azar.

This latest action by a Trump political appointee, which is being criticized by experts and former Republican FDA officials, comes as a new ABC News/Ipsos poll highlights that “fewer than 1 in 10…Americans have a great deal of confidence in Trump to confirm vaccine effectiveness…while 69% don’t have confidence in the president vouching for a vaccine, including…53% saying [they have] ‘none at all.’”

“Each time Trump exaggerates, lies about, or politicizes the vaccine development process, and each time his political appointees interfere with career scientists and public health officials, it further erodes the American people’s already waning trust in any vaccine announced by the Administration in advance of November,” said Accountable Pharma spokesman Eli Zupnick.

“We are already facing a major public health crisis that Trump has bungled every step of the way, and because it is absolutely critical that any safe and effective vaccine be developed and approved as quickly as possible to help end this pandemic – this Administration should be working to restore confidence and public trust, not take steps like this that have the opposite effect.”

A timeline of political pressure on health officials

  • September 16: President Trump publicly scolded the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield following his testimony to Congress that mask use was critical in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and that a vaccine would likely not be available to the American public until “late second quarter, third quarter 2021.”
  • August 30: WaPo: “Inside Trump’s pressure campaign on federal scientists over a covid-19 treatment”
  • August 25: NPR: “FDA’s Hahn Apologizes For Overselling Plasma’s Benefits As A COVID-19 Treatment”
  • August 24: “Trump’s FDA Intimidation Campaign Pays Off With Politically-Convenient Announcement; Further Undermines Trust in Vaccine, Treatment Approval Process”
  • August 22: Trump dials up the pressure with another tweet “The deep state, or whoever, over at the FDA is making it very difficult for drug companies to get people in order to test the vaccines and therapeutics. Obviously, they are hoping to delay the answer until after November 3rd. Must focus on speed, and saving lives!”
  • August 19: Trump insinuates that FDA is trying to hurt him politically through delay: “It could be a political decision because you have a lot of people over there who don’t want to rush things because they want to do it after November 3”
  • August 18: “Trump Dials Up Pressure for Pre-Election Vaccine, Wonders if “Deep State” Will Delay Vaccine Announcement Until November 4th”
  • August 17: “Trump Pushes Another COVID-19 “Miracle Cure” Hawked By His MyPillow Buddy, Housing Secretary; Watchdog Urges FDA to Stand Up to Pressure”
  • August 6: “Watchdog Group to FDA: Patients Need More Than Words On Vaccine Safety Assurance; Supports Health Expert Calls for Additional Transparency”
  • July 15: “NEW REPORT – Operation Warp Speed at Two Months: $4 Billion for Drug Companies, Zero Assurances for Patients and Taxpayers”
  • June 25: “New Vaccine Report Highlights Trump Administration’s Drug Company Connections, Need for Vaccine Program Transparency”
  • June 24: “As Dr. Fauci Expresses Hope for Vaccine By End of Year, Patients Need Assurances That Trump Pressure Won’t Corrupt Development Process”
  • June 8: “Watchdog Calls for Independent Patient Advocate to Audit ‘Operation Warp Speed’”
  • May 26: “Lack of Transparency, Conflicts of Interest Surround Trump’s “Operation Warp Speed” Vaccine Development Program”


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