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A House Oversight Subcommittee has conducted an investigation into whether White House officials put pressure on the country’s top health agencies as a whole epidemic.
The subcommittee sent letters to the leaders of the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and requested information and requests for agency actions, drafts sent to the White House and changes made during the review process.
In the letter, the chairman of the subcommittee Ray. King Krishnamurthy, D-Ill. The letters emphasize the role of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in reviewing agency decisions. The OIRA is part of the White House Office of Management and Budget and is empowered to review regulatory actions undertaken by agencies.
“We are particularly concerned that a little-known office within the White House – part of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget – is increasing influence on what is perceived as a non-partisan, scientific message,” Krishnamurthy Said in a statement on Tuesday.
In congressional testimony, CDC director Drs. Robert Redfield and FDA Commissioner Drs. Stephen Hahn has stated that his agencies have not been affected by political pressure. Both have also vowed to maintain the scientific integrity of their agencies.
Allegations of political interference by the White House come at a critical time, most notably for the FDA, which will soon be charged with examining and potentially authorizing data for the first vaccine for coronovirus. President Donald Trump has repeatedly said that it is possible that the vaccine may come before the November 3 presidential election, a timeline that raises suspicion among most scientists.
Last month, the Washington Post reported that the FDA planned to publish new standards for emergency authorization of a potential vaccine, greatly reducing the likelihood that a vaccine would be authorized before an election. However, The New York Times reported on Monday that top White House officials are now withholding guidance, which has still not been published.
Krishnamurthy wrote in his letter, “The public wants a COVID-19 vaccine that they can trust. The FDA and its expert staff also want the same.” “Unfortunately, President Trump has pledged to bring a vaccine to market, and it undermines public confidence in the FDA’s ability to ensure safe and effective vaccines.”
Trump has publicly pressured Hahn and FDA officials in the past. At the onset of the epidemic, Trump asked for emergency authorization of the use of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine. Prescriptions for the 60-year-old drug rose 2,000% in March, but later studies found that it was indeed hasty to death in some patients, and the FDA pulled its emergency authority in June.
More recently, the president publicly criticized Hahn and called for him to quickly authorize spasm plasma for the treatment of Kovid-19. Some scientists said that when treatment appears safe, the country would have been better off not authorizing the treatment and instead studying it more rigorously in larger clinical trials.
Trump has also tampered with the CDC. Last month, when Redfield testified that America should have enough vaccine doses for Americans to return to “regular life” by the third quarter of 2021, Trump later protested, saying he made a mistake. . ”
Krishnamurthy’s letter to Redfield mentions the appointment of Michael Caputo, a former Trump official who took over as the top spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services earlier this year. For months, other politically appointed communications staff at the KPU and HHS were at the center of reports about mediation in internal CDC cases, including the publication of medical research about the virus.
Last month, Caputo was placed on a 60-day medical holiday after he posted a video on his personal Facebook page accusing CDC scientists of “treason” against the president. Caputo, through a spokesperson, later stated that he had been diagnosed with cancer.
Krishnamurthy said in his letter to Redfield that “we are concerned that the White House is changing and guiding the CDC reports to question the administration’s response to the epidemic or damage to President Trump’s chances of reelection” Do not provide support to deliver. “