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Bound by science, bent by politics: Inside the FDA’s reversals and walkbacks as it grapples with the coronavirus pandemic

Doctor explains why hydroxychloriquine study is so concerning 03:39 Washington (CNN)Dr. Stephen Hahn repeatedly pledged in a CNN interview Tuesday that science and data would be his "north star" while leading the Food and Drug Administration through the coronavirus pandemic. Then, a few hours later, President Donald Trump went on national television and politicized medical research and brazenly flouted FDA warnings.

The FDA had already put out a stark 1,000-word warning about the risks of hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug some hoped would be an effective treatment for Covid-19. But this week, Trump suddenly announced he was taking the drug and falsely claimed there was no FDA warning.

Such is the life of a Food and Drug Commissioner in the Trump Era, in the year of the worst pandemic since 1918, with 1.5 million sick Americans and more than 95,000 lives lost .

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Whether due to political pressure — a charge Hahn denies — or the natural burden of dealing with a global pandemic, the FDA has had to issue a number of high-profile walk-backs and revisions to its efforts to tackle Covid-19.

The agency’s initially strict regulations for diagnostic test developers were removed after complaints. Its emergency authorization for hydroxychloroquine was followed by […]

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