Plasma Authorization Raises Fears Of Politically-Influenced COVID-19 Vaccine Decisions, Compromised FDA
US FDA Commissioner Hahn’s credibility is in question following an emergency use authorization for convalescent plasma, leading some former officials to push for new agency leadership. Hahn’s actions, combined with President Trump’s attack on FDA staff as being ‘deep state’ actors, may compromise the public trust in the agency’s work during COVID-19 and beyond, former FDA officials say.
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Expanded access program for COVID plasma grew bigger than FDA anticipated, and the agency should have pushed harder for randomized clinical trials earlier, CBER director says. Although unapologetic about the EUA, Marks regrets there was not a better understanding of product quality attributes at the time of authorization.
The emergency use authorization for convalescent plasma in August 2020 on weak data from an expanded access program has largely been viewed as a politically charged decision by the Trump administration. But newly revealed emails from the run up to the decision indicate Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Director Peter Marks backed the plan.
As questions of political interference continue to swirl around the issue of whether additional vaccine shots will be needed, the Biden administration is facing communication challenges commonly seen with his predecessor, Donald Trump.