White House blocked FDA commissioner from testifying to House panel

Hahn, who is scheduled to testify before a Republican-led Senate panel next week, in recent weeks has worked to reestablish his agency’s independence amid pressure from President Donald Trump to deliver faster on coronavirus vaccines and treatments. Hahn ousted the agency’s top spokesperson, a Trump appointee, after a disastrous rollout of an emergency use authorization for convalescent plasma. He also has repeatedly pledged the FDA will be transparent about how it evaluates Covid-19 vaccine candidates.

“I am often asked about how and when FDA will authorize or approve a vaccine to protect against [Covid-19]. Here is my answer: when the agency’s scientific experts have completed their review and are ready to do so, and not a moment before,” Hahn tweeted Friday.

Background: Hahn appears to be the most recent administration official blocked from testifying before a House panel on the administration’s coronavirus response. The White House earlier this week prevented trade adviser Peter Navarro from testifying before a House Oversight subcommittee about the administration’s use of the Defense Production Act to manufacture ventilators.

What’s next: Hahn is still scheduled to appear at a Senate HELP Committee hearing on Sept. 23 alongside infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci, CDC Director Robert Redfield and HHS testing czar Brett Giroir.

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