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Rep. Adams Leads Letter to FDA Concerning Trump Administration’s Reckless Messaging on Hydroxychloroquine

Apr 16, 2020
Press Release
Over 50 Members of Congress join letter to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Alma Adams (NC-12) and Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18), Chair of the Committee on Energy & Commerce’s Subcommittee on Health, led more than 50 colleagues in sending a letter to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn regarding the recent Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to allow hydroxychloroquine sulfate (HCQ) and chloroquine phosphate (CQ) to be used as unapproved potential therapeutics for coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) patients.

“As COVID-19 takes its toll on our communities, this Administration’s irresponsible endorsement of hydroxychloroquine has not only harmed coronavirus victims, but also the patients who are facing a nationwide shortage and need the medication for survival,” said Congresswoman Adams. “I am especially concerned for Lupus patients, for whom this is the first-line treatment, as well as patients afflicted by malaria, porphyria cutanea tarda, and rheumatoid arthritis. Now more than ever, we must rely on our medical professionals and science-based evidence and not on misinformation or the whims of charlatans. In this urgent fight to save lives, our guiding principle must be to ‘do no harm,’ because missteps can be fatal.”

“In the midst of the COVID-19 emergency, it’s imperative that our regulatory agencies balance urgency with their responsibility to protect public health,” said Chairwoman Eshoo. “This includes ensuring that patients who rely on hydroxychloroquine to treat their Lupus, malaria or rheumatoid arthritis can access their treatment without disruption. The FDA must demonstrate it is maintaining its strong standard of review, including the requirement that all medical products be safe and effective.”

“As the co-chair of the Congressional Lupus Caucus, I know how critical these medications are for our constituents living with lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and other rheumatic conditions,” said Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson. “We must ensure that these patients continue to have access to hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine as they are being studied for use in treating coronavirus.”

“As a Co-Chair of the Lupus Caucus, we must ensure that FDA approval of new therapies is based on sound science and does not impair availability of HCQ and CQ for those with lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or the other medical conditions," said Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. "It is my hope that FDA provides prompt information about its approval process for expanded use of these medications. The American people deserve to have confidence that these expanded uses are consistent with FDA’s rigorous approach to its mission of protecting our nation’s public health.”

For more than 50 years, HCQ and CQ have been used for treatment of malaria, Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and other anti-inflammatory conditions. Congresswoman Adams has heard directly from her constituents that the EUA and Administration’s efforts to acquire the medication for the Strategic National Stockpile have created nationwide shortages for patients that currently rely on prescribed HCQ to maintain a decent quality of life. 

Click here to read a copy of the letter.

The letter:

  • requests background information into the FDA’s decision to approve an EUA for HCQ;
  • encourages the development of COVID-19 therapies that meet the FDA’s world-respected gold standard and approval process, and
  • urges the agency to protect and preserve the supply chain for Lupus, malaria, and rheumatoid arthritis patients who need HCQ to maintain a baseline quality of life.

Moreover, the signers of the letter are concerned about the irresponsible and speculative promotion of HCQ as a potential therapy for COVID-19 without much evidence or consensus from the medical community that it is effective or safe. It is critical that our decisions to help do not result in harm, the spread of misinformation, and unintended consequences. While clinical trials and studies of the HCQ and CQ on COVID-19 patients are now underway, Brazil prematurely ended their study because 11 patients died and many others developed irregular heartbeats. The high dosage recommended by the Chinese study proved to be toxic and was killing patients. More information here.

Cosigners include Lupus Caucus Co-Chair Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30), Arthritis Caucus Co-Chair Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), John Garamendi (CA-03), Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr. (CA-39), André Carson (IN-07), Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), Grace F. Napolitano (CA-32), David N. Cicilline (RI-01), Suzan DelBene (WA-01), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Mike Thompson (CA-05), Frederica Wilson (FL-24), Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE-AL), Barbara Lee (CA-13), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Deb Haaland (NM-01), Jackie Speier (CA-14), Gwen Moore (WI-04), Joyce Beatty (OH-03), Rosa L. DeLauro (CT-03), Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Joseph P. Kennedy, III (MA-04), Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Donald S. Beyer Jr. (VA-08), David Trone (MD-06), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Doris Matsui (CA-06), Jerry McNerney (CA-09), Judy Chu (CA-27), Bobby L. Rush (IL-01), Darren Soto (FL-09), Lois Frankel (FL-21), Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11), Susan A. Davis (CA-53), Peter Welch (VT-AL), Gerald E. Connolly (VA-11), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-AL), Mark Takano (CA-41), Bradley S. Schneider (IL-10), David Scott (GA-13), Raul Grijalva (AZ-03), Terri A. Sewell (AL-07), Kathleen Rice (NY-04), J. Luis Correa (CA-46), Val Demings (FL-10), Salud O. Carbajal (CA-24).

Congresswoman Adams has represented North Carolina’s 12th Congressional District, which includes Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, in the United States House since 2014. She is the co-chair and co-founder of the Black Maternal Health Caucus.