Health experts worried Trump administration will push FDA to rush COVID-19 vaccines out before they are proven: report
Coronavirus Dozens of pharmaceuticals and research labs across the world are racing to develop a vaccine Thibault Savary AFP:File

On Saturday, Politico reported that health experts are concerned the Trump administration will push the Food and Drug Administration into approving vaccines for the coronavirus pandemic without the proper level of research or testing beforehand.

"President Donald Trump’s habit of touting potential coronavirus cures during daily White House briefings has changed the game for drugmakers, who are dropping their usually secretive ways to aggressively court public opinion," reported Sarah Owermohle. "From Gilead releasing anecdotal results on the drug remdesivir to Johnson & Johnson’s new reality series on the making of its experimental vaccine, pharmaceutical companies are seeking to shape the narrative like never before. The PR push could raise false hope about therapies that don't end up working, or even put pressure on the Food and Drug Administration to approve drugs and vaccines whose effectiveness isn't clear."

"This Wild West approach to promoting drugs and vaccines this early in the development process is a dramatic reversal for the pharmaceutical industry, which is normally guarded about the information it releases about ongoing clinical trials and the FDA approval process," continued the report. "But the gambit appears to be paying off for drugmakers like Gilead. Trump mentioned remdesivir at his very next press briefing, on April 14, saying that the experimental treatment has shown 'very promising' results. Trump’s repeated backing of another potential coronavirus drug, hydroxychloroquine, has already sent demand for it soaring across the country."

NYU law professor Christopher Morten, who has fought with Gilead over HIV prevention drugs, expressed his concern. "Everyone wants drugs approved fast," he said. "Patients, the president, drug companies — they’re all pressuring the FDA to approve, approve, approve on the bare minimum of evidence."

“When the president talks about something, that sucks all the oxygen out of not only other conversations but other things that would fall normally into that conversation,” said former Republican chairman Doug Heye. He added that he is worried any good news "is then potentially hailed as the next miracle cure by the president, before anybody else is ready to definitively say that."