House committee investigating Covid response seeks to question former FDA chief

According to its memo to Hahn, the committee appears to be interested in asking the former FDA commissioner about his time dealing with controversial drug product regulatory approvals, Covid-19 vaccine development, and White House interference in the FDA’s regulatory process. . Han did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

Hahn was closely involved in the Food and Drug Administration’s decision to approve emergency use of hydroxychloroquine during the pandemic. In the spring of 2020, Trump White House officials, including trade adviser Peter Navarro, began lobbying for the anti-malaria drug to be used as a potential treatment for Covid-19 despite a lack of scientific evidence.

Hahn received a warning from his peers about the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine treatment for Covid-19, but the Food and Drug Administration did not rescind emergency authorization for both until June 15, according to the letter released by the commission on Monday. In the days that followed, Navarro threatened Han and accused the FDA of being a “profound case,” according to the committee’s memo to Han.

In another case, the Food and Drug Administration quickly released the EUA for convalescent plasma, according to the committee’s letter, drafted by President Jim Clipburn (DS.C). The emergency use authorization was issued over objections from the National Institutes of Health.

“At the press conference announcing this decision…I cited grossly inaccurate statistics about the effectiveness of plasma therapy,” the letter read.

The letter also outlines wide-ranging examples of how the Trump White House has attempted to interfere with the Food and Drug Administration’s work related to the pandemic, particularly its process to set stringent safety standards for a Covid-19 vaccine. President Trump and others suggested that the Food and Drug Administration was demanding these high safety standards due to political motives.

“President Trump has continued to imply that the decisions of the Food and Drug Administration have been affected by the upcoming elections,” the letter read.

The commission set a December 6 deadline for Hahn to hand over relevant documents and asked the former FDA commissioner for an interview on December 13.

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