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Coronavirus

FDA Chief Denies Feeling Pressure on COVID-19 Drugs

WASHINGTON– The head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration tells House lawmakers he hasn't felt any political pressure from the Trump administration to make decisions related to therapies for COVID-19.

The FDA last week pulled its emergency authorization for hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug aggressively promoted by President Donald Trump for treating COVID-19.

The FDA in March initially green-lighted use of the drug but said new studies strongly suggest it doesn’t work against the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Hydroxychloroquine also can sometimes cause dangerous heart side effects. The FDA said that risk outweighed the drug’s unproven benefit for COVID-19 patients.

Democratic Congresswoman Anna Eshoo asked FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn to immediately report any political pressure on the FDA to members of Congress. Hahn said he would.

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