Trump Continues FDA Intimidation, Insinuations; Political Pressure Undermines Trust in Vaccine, Treatment Approval Process
Trump on Monday accuses “deep state” of vaccine delay: “I’m watching it very closely. I don’t need to have them announce on November 4th ‘ladies and gentlemen we’ve found the vaccine, it’s perfect.’ I don’t need that”
Trump yesterday dials up pressure: “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”
Trump on COVID blood treatment therapy: “I hear great things about it … that’s all I can tell you”; Dr. Fauci and Dr. Collins “urged caution last week, citing weak data”
Washington, DC – Today, Accountable Pharma released the following statement after President Trump once again baselessly accused government scientists and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of slow-rolling development and approval of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments to hurt him politically, this time in response to the FDA putting a hold on their emergency approval of blood plasma treatments following concerns expressed by top government scientists Dr. Francis Collins and Dr. Anthony Fauci.
“President Trump’s intimidation tactics and baseless accusations are wildly irresponsible and threaten to undermine the public’s already diminished trust in his government’s vaccine and treatment development process,” said Eli Zupnick, spokesman for Accountable Pharma. “The FDA needs to stand strong, brush aside these sad insinuations, and put science and public health ahead of Trump’s political interests.”
Trump’s comments follow reports that he was considering pressuring the Food and Drug Administration to approve a wholly unproven extract from the poisonous oleander plant as a COVID-19 cure as well as recent comments pressuring his government to deliver a vaccine in advance of his election. And it comes as questions continue to be raised about the lack of transparency at Operation Warp Speed, new reporting revealed that their contract with at least one drug company included financial incentives tied to speed of production, drug company executives continue making millions of dollars cashing out stock options that have exploded in value due to government investments, and people are generally concerned about whether the public can trust a vaccine emerging from Trump’s program.
Accountable Pharma has called for greater transparency at the FDA following previous instances of them bowing to inappropriate pressure from President Trump.
Background on the Trump Administration’s history of applying pressure to health agencies
Despite Commissioner Hahn’s claims that the FDA never bowed to inappropriate pressure…we know that that’s simply not the case: Washington Post: “FDA’s hydroxychloroquine reversal raises even bigger questions about Trump’s role in pushing for the drug…in its most significant walk-back to date, it has pulled that emergency use authorization (EUA) altogether. The decision Monday by the FDA now lends credibility to persistent suspicions that all of this was politicized from the beginning.”
Sec. Carson and MyPillow CEO Lindell Urged Trump to Support Oleandrin in July Oval Office Meeting. “To the alarm of some government health officials, President Trump has expressed enthusiasm for the Food and Drug Administration to permit an extract from the oleander plant to be marketed as a dietary supplement or, alternatively, approved as a drug to cure COVID-19, despite lack of proof that it works…The experimental botanical extract, oleandrin, was promoted to Trump during an Oval Office meeting in July. It’s embraced by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and MyPillow founder and CEO Mike Lindell, a big Trump backer, who recently took a financial stake in the company that develops the product. Lindell told Axios that in the meeting, Trump “basically said: …’The FDA should be approving it.’” [Axios, 8/17/20]
July 2020: Trump tweeted directly at CDC Commissioner Hahn calling on him to “act now” on hydroxychloroquine: “The highly respected Henry Ford Health System just reported, based on a large sampling, that HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE cut the death rate in certain sick patients very significantly. The Dems disparaged it for political reasons (me!). Disgraceful. Act now @US_FDA @TuckerCarlson @FoxNews.” [Twitter – President Trump, 7/6/20]
Headline: NBC News: “Hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19: Scientists say it’s time to stop promoting the drug.” [NBC News, 7/30/20]
June 2020: FDA Reversed Emergency Use Authorization For Hydroxychloroquine. “And now, in its most significant walk-back to date, it has pulled that emergency use authorization (EUA) altogether. The decision Monday by the FDA now lends credibility to persistent suspicions that all of this was politicized from the beginning. In its decision, the FDA said, “It is no longer reasonable to believe that oral formulations of [hydroxychloroquine] and [chloroquine] may be effective in treating COVID-19, nor is it reasonable to believe that the known and potential benefits of these products outweigh their known and potential risks.’”
Headline: Washington Post: “FDA’s hydroxychloroquine reversal raises even bigger questions about Trump’s role in pushing for the drug.” [Washington Post, 6/15/20]
Headline: New York Times: “A Mad Scramble to Stock Millions of Malaria Pills, Likely for Nothing.” [New York Times, 6/16/20]
April 2020: Director Of Key Federal Health Agency Forced Out After Resisting Political Pressure To Direct Funding To Hydroxychloroquine. “The official who led the federal agency involved in developing a coronavirus vaccine said on Wednesday that he was removed from his post after he pressed for rigorous vetting of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug embraced by President Trump as a coronavirus treatment, and that the administration had put “politics and cronyism ahead of science.” . . . “I believe this transfer was in response to my insistence that the government invest the billions of dollars allocated by Congress to address the Covid-19 pandemic into safe and scientifically vetted solutions, and not in drugs, vaccines and other technologies that lack scientific merit,” he said in his statement. “I am speaking out because to combat this deadly virus, science — not politics or cronyism — has to lead the way.’” [New York Times, 4/22/20]
Headline: New York Times: “Health Dept. Official Says Doubts on Hydroxychloroquine Led to His Ouster.” [New York Times, 4/22/20]