Potentially Life-Saving COVID Treatments are being held up by the FDA

This latest FDA blunder serves as a sobering reminder of how entrenched, strong government agencies jeopardize development and hurt society.

We may already have medications that can treat COVID-19 and significantly lower the risk of mortality. It’s just currently illegal to prescribe or sell them, thanks to the Food and Drug Administration.

The treatments in question include a new pill to treat COVID-19 developed by Pfizer. In clinical studies, the tablet reduced the probability of an infected patient dying or being hospitalized by 89 percent, according to the business. According to the Washington Post, “The effect of the Pfizer drug was found to be so strong midway through the study that an independent committee monitoring the clinical trial recommended it be stopped early.” 

Another company, Merck, has developed a pill it says reduces the chances of serious illness and death by 50 percent and requested FDA approval last month. It is still waiting on approval, although it was approved on November 5 in the United Kingdom.   

As far as the Pfizer treatment is concerned, the request for FDA emergency approval has already been submitted. We’re literally just waiting on them to get their act together and meet (virtually!) to discuss it, and apparently the FDA won’t be doing so until after Thanksgiving. This means that the Pfizer treatments won’t start getting administered until December at the earliest. 

To be clear, I'm not a doctor, and I can't vouch for the efficacy of these therapies based on the firms' experiments. But I can state with clarity that, with 750,000 Americans dying from or infected with COVID-19, and hundreds more dying every week, sick individuals should be able to get these therapies legally if they choose to.

As the Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney pointed out, “In the past 30 days, more than 37,000 people died of COVID in the United States, according to the CDC. Over the next 35 days, [the Pfizer treatment] could prevent tens of thousands of avoidable deaths. But instead, the FDA won’t immediately let Pfizer sell a drug it knows to be lifesaving.”

“This isn’t the behavior of a government set on maximizing public health,” Carney concluded. “This is a bureaucracy religiously devoted to its own tedious rules to the point of defeating its own purpose for existence.” 

It certainly is. This latest FDA blunder serves as a sobering reminder of how entrenched, strong government agencies jeopardize development and hurt society. That's a lesson that will stick with you long after the epidemic is over.

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