U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman orders FDA to speed up release of Covid-19 vaccine trial data from 23.5 years to just 2.
A federal judge in Texas this week ordered the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make public data it relied on to license COVID-19 vaccines—Moderna’s for adults and Pfizer’s for children—at an accelerated rate, requiring all documents to be made public by mid-2025 rather than, as the FDA wanted, over the course of around 23.5 years.
In a decision hailed as a win for transparency by the lawyer representing the plaintiffs (the parents of a child injured by a COVID-19 vaccine) in a lawsuit (pdf) against the FDA, the Texas judge ordered the FDA to produce the data about ten times faster than the agency wanted.
“Democracy dies behind closed doors,” is how U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman opened his order (pdf), issued on May 9, which requires the FDA to produce the data on Moderna’s and Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccines at an average rate of at least 180,000 pages per month.
The FDA had argued it would be “impractical” to release the estimated 4.8 million pages at more than between 1,000 and 16,000 pages per month, which would have taken at least 23.5 years.
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Aaron Siri of Siri & Glimstad, who represents the plaintiffs in the legal action against the FDA, called the decision “another blow for transparency and accountability” that builds on an earlier court order targeting Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine data for those aged 16 and older.
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