New York– With US President Donald Trump pushing for quicker approval of Covid-19 treatments and vaccines ahead of the November election, top regulators of the country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have vowed to defend the agency’s independence, while upholding scientific integrity.
In an opinion column published in USA Today on Thursday, eight senior career civil servants who direct the work of the various centres at the FDA assured that they continue to make decisions on the safety and effectiveness of medical products based on the available science.
The regulators who have among them over 100 years of experience at FDA warned that “if the agency’s credibility is lost because of real or perceived interference, people will not rely on the agency’s safety warnings.”
However they did not mention Trump or other political leaders in the column even as they admitted that “the F.D.A., like other federal executive agencies, operates in a political environment.”
The statement comes at a time when Trump had hinted that a vaccine could be available before the Election Day.
He had earlier lashed out at the FDA for its approach to approving treatments for Covid-19.
“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,” Trump had earlier said in a tweet that tagged FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn.
“Obviously, they are hoping to delay the answer until after November 3rd. Must focus on speed, and saving lives!”
In an interview with the Financial Times published late last month, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said emergency authorisation of Covid-19 could be the right decision if the benefits outweigh the risks.
Health officials in the US were questioned by senators on Wednesday about whether Trump is interfering in the development of potential Covid-19 vaccines. (IANS)