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Public Citizen Urges the FDA, Pharmaceutical Companies to Publicly Release Name of Any Drug Involved in Shortages Caused by the Novel Coronavirus Epidemic

Full Transparency During the Epidemic Is Vital

WASHINGTON - The medications involved in the shortages caused by the novel coronavirus epidemic must be made public, Public Citizen said today in letters sent to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and major pharmaceutical industry trade groups.

On Feb. 27, the FDA announced the first known medication shortage linked to the COVID-19 outbreak that originated in China. The agency, however, has refused to disclose the name of the medication, citing such information as “confidential commercial information.”

Full transparency by the government is needed during this epidemic, and any hint that the government is hiding important information sows distrust, Public Citizen wrote in the letters. Additionally, knowing which drug shortages are due to the COVID-19 epidemic will help the medical community better understand the evolving adverse impacts of the epidemic and take actions to mitigate those impacts.

In the letters, Public Citizen asked the FDA to publicly release the name of the drugs involved in the current and any future shortages, and urged the trade groups, including the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and Association for Accessible Medicines, to encourage their member companies to do the same.

“Important public health interests must take precedence over any purported pharmaceutical industry interest in keeping such information secret,” said Dr. Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group and author of the letters. “Corporate profits should not be protected at the expense of human lives.”

Read the letter to the FDA here.

Read the letter to trade groups here.


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Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1971 to represent consumer interests in Congress, the executive branch and the courts.

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