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Radio Silence from FDA and HHS, Chairwoman DeLauro Statement on VA use of Hydroxychloroquine and Lack of Plans for the Strategic National Stockpile

August 12, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC –Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Chair of the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, released the following statement after Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Stephen Hahn missed the deadline to respond to DeLauro’s demand for detailed answers on the costs, reimbursements, and unintended consequences associated with the purchase of hydroxychloroquine for the Strategic National Stockpile:

“As reports over the weekend indicate that 700 residents in state veterans homes have died from the coronavirus and many were given care based on the president’s rhetoric, not science, it is critical that Secretary Azar and Commissioner Hahn provide the details necessary to understand how many people were impacted and how many lives were risked because federal agencies under this administration promoted the use of an unproven and dangerous drug to treat COVID-19.

“On July 21st, I sent yet another letter on hydroxychloroquine expressing serious concern over renewed calls for emergency use authorization of the drug. Despite numerous demands, we still do not know the number of doses of hydroxychloroquine purchased by the Strategic National Stockpile, this administration’s plans to consider issuing a new emergency use authorization for this drug, and HHS’ steps to ensure patients prescribed hydroxychloroquine for conditions such as malaria, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis will not face barriers to having their prescriptions filled for this medication.

“This administration’s regular practice of spreading political conspiracy theories or dangerous conjectures is putting lives at risk. Science must guide which drugs may work for patients and our nation’s veterans, not the feelings of President Trump or his advisors. I demand a response to these critical questions—the American people need a return to governance by truth and science.”

In April, DeLauro sent a letter to Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert Wilkie urging him to stop the use of hydroxychloroquine on veterans diagnosed with COVID-19 after the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and medical experts found that the drug could increase the risk of death. The text of that letter can be found here.