Washington D.C. – The National Treasury Employees Union, which represents frontline employees at the Food and Drug Administration and other divisions at the Department of Health and Human Services, joined in a national campaign today urging the leaders of federal health agencies to rebuild trust by shielding government scientists guiding the national response to the coronavirus pandemic from any political interference.
In a letter published today in the Wall Street Journal, a coalition of 80 public health organizations said the mere perception of political influence in COVID-19 vaccine work is detrimental to the public’s confidence.
“The leaders of our federal agencies – even if they serve as political appointees – must be independent voices that are guided by evidence and the integrity of their agencies’ employees,” the letter states.
In addition to NTEU, the open letter was signed by the Alliance for Aging Research, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and many others.
The letter makes specific reference to the FDA, where NTEU represents more than 9,000 employees who work all over the world to safeguard the food, medicine and medical products that Americans rely on every day.
“Evidence derived from clinical trials that meet FDA standards should drive assessment of which COVID-19 therapeutics are safe and effective,” it states.
The Senate Health, Education Labor and Pensions Committee holds a hearing tomorrow on the federal response to COVID-19.
“NTEU is honored to represent the men and women of the FDA and to join with this coalition. The FDA and other federal public health experts have been trusted sources of health and medical information for generations of Americans. We cannot let actual or even implied political interference tear down that trust,” said NTEU National President Tony Reardon.
“The federal scientists, doctors, researchers and others who have dedicated their careers to public health are the key to ending the pandemic. Their work is too important to be jeopardized by political agendas,” he added.
NTEU represents about 150,000 employees at 33 federal agencies and departments.