Former FDA commissioners: “[White House] actions are eroding the public’s confidence…the implications of the recent shift are potentially dire…without that trust, our health and economy could lag for years”

NEW: “CDC director overruled on cruise ship ban”

DAYS AGO: “White House objections may prevent FDA from releasing stricter [vaccine] guidelines”…White House “pressured the [CDC]…to play down the risk of sending children back to school”

In case you missed it, Trump’s former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Scott Gottlieb, joined six other former FDA commissioners in a new op-ed strongly condemning the Trump Administration’s pressure and intimidation of career scientists and public health officials. This comes as polls show crumbling confidence in Trump’s word on vaccine safety, as reports continue to emerge about the new cases of political pressure and intimidation, and as scientists and public health officials continue weighing in calling for it to end.

Yesterday, Accountable.US responded to the latest report of Trump Administration political appointees pressuring career science and public health experts. And last week, Accountable.US President Kyle Herrig sent a letter to congressional leadership calling for Congress to move quickly to help restore the trust that President Trump has undermined in the government’s COVID vaccine development process.

Key excerpts from new op-ed

“…a safe and effective vaccine will not be enough; people will also have to choose to take it. This depends on widespread confidence that the vaccine approval was based on sound science and not politics. If the White House takes the unprecedented step of trying to tip the scales on how safety and benefits will be judged, the impact on public trust will render an effective vaccine much less so.

“These actions are eroding the public’s confidence…The implications of the recent shift are potentially dire…Without that trust, our health and economy could lag for years.

“Scientists should make decisions based on data, unfettered by political pressure or the intrusions of ideology or vested interests. Political intrusion only prolongs the pandemic and erodes our public health institutions.”

A timeline of political pressure on health officials

  • 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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