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Vivek Ramaswamy is fearmongering the FDA
Cloe Hughes

Feb 04, 2024

Analyzing the former Republican presidential candidate's comments on the FDA


Vivek Ramaswamy, the former Republican presidential candidate, is well known in the pharmaceutical industry as the founder and former CEO of the biotech company Riovant.

Since 2016, Riovant has contributed to the development of six FDA-approved drugs. 

However, as of February 2023, Ramaswamy stepped down as chair of Riovant to run for president and has since been vocal about his disdain for the FDA, posting about his plans to “gut” the FDA on Twitter as early as July.

In the Twitter post, Ramaswamy stated that the government agency was corrupt and hypocritical, claiming that FDA pushback on “Right to Try Laws” conflicted with their accelerated approval of the mandated COVID-19 vaccination. 

The Right to Try gives patients with life-threatening illnesses the right to participate in clinical trials and request access to investigational drugs that have not been federally approved by the FDA. 

But this is where Ramaswamy starts to blur the lines of bureaucratic responsibility. The FDA’s job is to collect information on Right to Try requests. It is not the FDA’s responsibility to review or approve Right to Try requests, which is ultimately up to a patient’s doctor and the drug manufacturer. 

He also mentioned the accelerated approval of the COVID-19 vaccines which he claims were “pushed through under political circumstances,” in under a year–implying that vaccines were under-tested or unsafe. 

However, this is not the case. The FDA’s clinical trial included over 40,000 individuals–half of whom received the vaccine, and half of whom received a placebo. The results showed that the vaccine was 91% effective in prevention.

In reality, the anti-FDA fearmongering ideology Ramaswamy is pushing is the same ideology that fueled anti-vaccination sentiments during the pandemic. Trump similarly bashed the FDA for accelerated vaccines in 2020, during the height of COVID-19.

While Ramaswamy has stepped down from his presidential campaign, the role of the FDA is becoming increasingly important in the presidential election.

Two cases concerning restrictions on the abortion pill drug Mifepristone–Food and Drug Administration v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine and Danco Laboratories v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine–are on the Supreme Court’s agenda for this summer 2024 during the height of the presidential campaign.

In the context of Dobbs, legal scholars are unsure how the Supreme Court will rule on the abortion pill cases. With a Republican majority Court, the outcome will likely be influenced by party sentiments on abortion and the FDA.

Ramaswamy has already announced that he hopes the Court will overturn FDA approval of Mifepristone. He has also endorsed Trump’s candidacy in the presidential election. 

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual author.






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