GAO Issues Report on Political Interference Across HHS

September 19, 2023

To combat allegations of political interference — which may have impacted HHS’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic — HHS agencies, including the FDA, are updating their scientific integrity policies and implementing new safeguards to protect against such interference, says a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued Thursday.

In April 2022, GAO divulged it provided recommendations to HHS that agencies develop procedures for “reporting and addressing” allegations of political interference and train staff on how they should report these allegations. The report specifically examines the actions taken by the CDC, FDA, NIH and the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response given the major roles they played during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For example, HHS officials told GAO that the department is updating its existing scientific integrity policy, as required by a presidential memorandum issued in January 2021 … the updated HHS policy will include specific provisions prohibiting political interference and clear procedures for reporting and handling allegations of political interference, among other things.”

Read the GAO report here.

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