New Emails Suggest Former FDA Commissioner Hahn Intentionally Made False Claim About Convalescent Plasma
Did former FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn cave to political pressure from the Trump Administration in authorizing hydroxychloroquine and convalescent plasma as treatments for COVID-19 even though there was scant evidence of their efficacy?
That’s what the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis wants to know. On Monday, the committee sent a letter to Hahn asking him to sit for an interview Dec. 13.
By Dec. 6, the subcommittee said it wants to see all documents and communications in Hahn’s possession related to his involvement in the government’s response to the coronavirus, including his duties at the FDA or as a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
The subcommittee said in the letter to Hahn that it had recently seen internal emails that show Hahn knew he was falsely claiming that convalescent plasma could increase survival by 35 percent overall when he spoke at the August 2020 press conference to announce the FDA’s emergency use authorization for convalescent plasma. In truth, it was a 35 percent relative reduction in mortality (DID, Aug. 26, 2020).
Hahn later apologized and said he misspoke. But the emails show he was planning to say “a 35 percent improvement in survival,” knowing it was inaccurate.
The subcommittee also has newly obtained texts between Hahn and Amy Abernethy, then principal deputy commissioner of Food and Drugs, discussing internal concerns about the safety of hydroxychloroquine.
Other issues the subcommittee wants to get to the bottom of: How much did the Trump administration interfere with the FDA’s authorization of coronavirus vaccines? And how much did the administration force herd immunity theories on public health officials, potentially leading to loss of life?
"Given the sustained campaigns to promote the use of dubious coronavirus treatments, the Select Subcommittee seeks to understand the full extent and impact of Trump Administration officials’ efforts to influence these FDA decisions,” said subcommittee chair Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) in the letter to Hahn.
Read the full letter here: www.fdanews.com/Subcommittee-Stephen-Hahn-letter.pdf. — Suz Redfearn