Political Interference at Health and Human Services (NIH, CDC, FDA, ASPR)

Bombshell: U.S. General Accounting Office Finds Evidence of Political Interference Occurring at CDC & FDA During COVID-19. Trial Site News reports (Behind a Paywall)

The US GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE: REPORT TO CONGRESS documents that the FDA, CDC, NIH and ASPR have been compromised during the pandemic by allowing political interference.

Trial Site News has also documented “that ‘political interference’ associated with scientific reports and possibly even tampered with study results to skew or bias the results has been ongoing throughout the pandemic (see the trial site news article for more details).”

The 37-page GAO report issued a warning that American federal agencies who have managed the pandemic public policy response (including vaccine and drug development) don’t have any mechanism to stop political interference. That they also don’t have reporting mechanisms for whistleblower allegations involving political interference. Furthermore, despite the leadership of these organizations (CDC, FDA, NIH and ASPR) asserting that there have been no political interference during the pandemic, an investigation by the GAO found multiple examples of such within the agencies.


SCIENTIFIC INTEGRITY HHS Agencies Need to Develop Procedures and Train Staff on Reporting and Addressing Political Interference

What GAO Found:

The four agencies GAO reviewed do not have procedures that define political interference in scientific decision-making or describe how it should be reported and addressedThese agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR).

The absence of specific procedures may explain why the four selected agencies did not identify any formally reported internal allegations of potential political interference in scientific decision-making from 2010 through 2021. Through semistructured interviews and a confidential hotline, employees at CDC, FDA, and NIH told GAO they observed incidents that they perceived to be political interference but did not report them for various reasonsThese reasons included fearing retaliation, being unsure how to report issues, and believing agency leaders were already aware…

All four selected agencies—CDC, FDA, NIH, and ASPR—train staff on some scientific integrity-related topics, such as public health ethics, but only NIH includes information on political interference in scientific decision-making as part of its scientific integrity training (see figure).”

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