Nathan Brown Quoted in POLITICO on Importance of FDA Funding for COVID Tests

Akin Gump health care and life sciences partner Nathan Brown has been quoted in the POLITICO article “Trump admin enlists private firm to review some COVID-19 tests.” The article reports that the Department of Health and Human Services’ use of a private firm to review the accuracy of some COVID-19 tests is the latest example of the department’s leadership attempting to bypass scientists at the Food and Drug Administration.

According to POLITICO, the last-minute change would allow HHS to issue emergency use authorizations for the tests without input from the FDA, though the decision is largely symbolic since the incoming Biden administration could reverse it once in office. That said, the article notes that the FDA’s diagnostic regulators have been hit with a deluge of requests for emergency authorization of COVID-19 products, leading the agency to put on hold review of many non-COVID submissions.

Brown said he thinks there is a legitimate public health justification for directing more resources toward reviewing COVID-19 tests.

“I think the new administration wants testing expanded,” Brown said. “You could come up with a way to still use this resource that has already been contracted for and do it in a way that’s more consistent with respecting FDA’s authority and expertise and oversight.”