Politico: “Trump’s back-channel conversations with Pfizer raise concerns that the president and drug makers are working behind regulators’ backs”

NYT: “Facing a White House blockade, the [FDA] is seeking other avenues to ensure that vaccines meet the guidelines”

Two weeks ago: “Watchdog Group to Trump: Don’t Block or Weaken Upcoming FDA Vaccine Standards”

Accountable Pharma last night: “absolutely egregious breach of public trust and clear politicization of …vaccine approval process”

Washington, DC – Today, Accountable Pharma released the following statement calling on drug companies working on COVID-19 vaccines to make it clear that they will adhere to the guidelines that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) scientists and public health experts have proposed to ensure safety and efficacy, which the White House has blocked over concerns that it would contradict President Trump’s political message that a vaccine will be approved in advance of the election. New reporting also indicates that the White House consulted with drug companies, including Pfizer, as they worked to block the stricter guidance.

“It’s deeply concerning but hardly surprising to learn that the White House is conspiring with drug companies to block FDA guidance intended to ensure that any approved vaccine is safe, effective, and trusted by the public,” said Eli Zupnick, spokesman for Accountable Pharma.

“This is just the latest egregious step by the Trump Administration to politicize and undermine trust in their vaccine approval process, and until Congress steps up to restore confidence, Pfizer and other vaccine makers must publicly commit to adhering to the FDA guidelines that the White House is blocking for political reasons.”

According to the New York Times, “some vaccine makers, including Johnson & Johnson, have publicly indicated that they will follow the agency’s recommendations, regardless of the White House’s actions.”

A timeline of political pressure on health officials

  • October 5: Reports emerge that the White House, in consultation with the drug industry, has overruled the FDA and plans to block the new guidance.
  • September 28: White House objections may prevent FDA from releasing stricter guidelines drawn up for the emergency authorization of coronavirus vaccines.
  • September 21: President Trump once again claimed that a vaccine will be approved “within a matter of weeks” and that it will be available to the public “long before the end of the year, maybe…maybe by the end of October,” contradicting  his top public 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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