Hydroxychloroquine EUA Is First Rx Victim Of Hahn’s ‘Move Fast, Course Correct’ Philosophy
US FDA's decision to revoke the COVID-19 emergency use authorization for two anti-malarial drugs keeps with commissioner Hahn's stated goal of moving fast to tackle the pandemic, but shifting course as new data comes available. FDA cited new evidence as well as a reanalysis of the data it initially based the EUA on as reasons for pulling the authorization. Meanwhile, HHS Secretary Alex Azar appeared to equate the EUA revocation as opening the doors for broader use of the medicine, potentially undermining FDA's own communication on the drug, in yet another example of political leaders complicating the science and public health response to COVID-19.
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From re-examining the FDA’s place in the broader US government to how fast and flexible it can be clearing therapies in non-emergency times, the COVID-19 EUA experience is expected to have a long-lasting impact on the agency.
FDA policy experts Jesse Goodman, Mark McClellan, Peter Lurie, David Bowen, Patti Zettler, and Aaron Kesselheim suggest ideas and points to consider in using the COVID-19 experience to assess whether standards for EUAs should be adjusted.
One such trial is being developed, but was needed early in the pandemic to answer many lingering questions about potential COVID-19 treatments.