CNN: “It’s coming from the top down”: White House and Health Department order controversial move…while Dr. Fauci was in surgery

A pattern of pressure: Just days ago “Trump’s FDA intimidation campaign pays off with politically-convenient blood plasma announcement, Dr. Hahn forced to apologize for ‘grossly’ misrepresenting data”

Washington, DC – Today, Accountable Pharma responded to the latest news of the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) applying inappropriate pressure to government scientists and public health officials, this time pushing for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to reduce testing for asymptomatic patients “even as scientists warned that the policy could hobble an already weak federal response as schools reopen and a potential autumn wave looms.” This latest example of political pressure, coming just days after President Trump bullied the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) into making a widely-panned emergency use authorization announcement, further undermines the public’s ability to trust President Trump’s COVID-19 vaccine and treatment development program.

“We are now seeing a clear and deeply alarming pattern of White House and HHS political appointees pressuring and bullying career scientists and public health experts, and it needs to end,” said Eli Zupnick, spokesman for Accountable Pharma. “President Trump is clearly focused on jamming vaccines and treatments through the process to help himself politically, but every time he claims that the ‘deep state’ is trying to delay a vaccine and every story that comes out exposing the latest inappropriate pressure being placed on health officials further erodes the public’s ability to trust the Trump’s vaccine development program.”

In addition to Trump pressuring the FDA on blood plasma, he was also recently reported to be 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.

The increase in political pressure comes as questions continue to be raised about the lack of transparency at Operation Warp Speed as recent 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.

A timeline of political pressure on health officials

  • 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”

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]

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