Politics Democratic chairman says White House blocked FDA commissioner from testifying
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The White House blocked Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Stephen Hahn from testifying before the House panel overseeing the administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic, its Democratic leaders
"The American people deserve to hear Commissioner Hahn's response to those concerns during a public hearing and what actions he is taking to ensure that the agency's COVID-19 decisions remain science-based," Reps. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), who chairs its health subcommittee, said in a statement. "The White House's muzzling of the FDA's top scientist further injures public trust and confidence in FDA."
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Earlier this week Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy also accused the White House of
A White House spokesperson told The Hill Hahn was blocked from testifying because it's "part of the administration's existing protocol to make sure health officials can keep their time and energy focused on responding to the coronavirus."
Hahn has testified before Congress , the last time being in late June. Since then, three potential coronavirus vaccines moved to phase three trials, which will determine safety and effectiveness.
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Democrats have been skeptical of the administration's vaccine efforts, which they say may be overlooking important safety measures in an effort to have results before the November elections.
"I am often asked about how and when FDA will authorize or approve a vaccine to protect against [coronavirus]. Here is my answer: when the agency's scientific experts have completed their review and are ready to do so, and not a moment before," Hahn tweeted Friday.
I am often asked about how and when FDA will authorize or approve a vaccine to protect against- Dr. Stephen M. Hahn (@SteveFDA) . Here is my answer: when the agency's scientific experts have completed their review and are ready to do so, and not a moment before.
Late last month Hahn after 11 days on the job amid the fallout over the agency's decision to issue an emergency use authorization for convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19 patients.
White House bars FDA commissioner from testifying before House committee
"Despite bipartisan interest and our requestthe White House has blocked Dr. Hahn from testifying," Democratic lawmakers said in a statement.Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. and Health Subcommittee Chairwoman Democratic Rep. Anna G. Eshoo said in a statement Friday that "despite bipartisan interest and our request for Commissioner Hahn to appear before the Energy and Commerce Committee this month, the White House has blocked Dr. Hahn from testifying.
Michael Caputo, a Trump-appointed Health and Human Services (HHS) communications official, announced Wednesday he was after making "comments that reflected poorly on the office and HHS."
Hahn is still scheduled to appear before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Tuesday, alongside infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield and HHS testing czar Brett Giroir.
Updated: 9:35 p.m.
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If Trump bypassed the FDA on a COVID-19 vaccine it could 'upend' the traditional approval structure and erode the public's trust in the executive agency, expert says .
"FDA relies on public trust and the FDA staff I have worked with and befriended in over a decade of practice understand this keenly," Marc Sanchez said.Marc Sanchez, an FDA attorney and consultant, said doing so would not only "upend" the FDA's structure but erode the public's trust in the agency to roll out a safe and vaccine on its own.