National Groups Call on U.S. Federal Health Agency Leaders to Stand Strong for Science Over Politics in the Fight Against COVID-19

WASHINGTON, Sept. 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The Alliance for Aging Research (Alliance) and 78 other national organizations representing patients, healthcare providers, and multi-stakeholder coalitions signed a letter directed to the leaders of federal health care agencies urging them to rise above the political considerations and focus on providing the American public with information about the well-established guidelines in place to ensure safe and effective COVID-19 prevention, detection, and treatment. Information and decisions that are perceived as anything less than science-based weaken the public’s confidence in research and innovation, and hinder adherence to mitigation efforts. In fact, a recent STAT/Harris poll found 78 percent of Americans worry the COVID-19 vaccine approval process is being driven by politics rather than science. It is this sentiment that federal government health officials must work with trusted partners to change if they intend to curb the deadly spread of COVID-19 and encourage widespread acceptance of an effective vaccine.

“Public perception of political influence in scientific decision-making is causing widespread confusion and distrust. We call on our federal health agency leaders to be straight with policymakers and the public about what lies ahead in the fight against COVID-19, without sugarcoating or political spin,” said Susan Peschin, MHS, President and CEO of the Alliance for Aging Research, which spearheaded the effort. “As our letter states, ‘stand strong, and we will join with you to communicate that scientists are leading the way to ensure treatments and vaccines are safe and effective—and in turn—lead the nation to full recovery.’ The stakes couldn’t be higher.”

The letter, published today in the Washington, DC, edition of the Wall Street Journal to reach a wide swath of federal decisionmakers ahead of tomorrow’s Senate HELP hearing, COVID-19: An Update on the Federal Response, emphasizes the vital role American public health officials play in the prevention, detection, and treatment of the coronavirus. The letter outlines:

  • To promote public health and economic recovery, government decisions must be based on evidence – not politics or individual interests.
  • By clearly explaining the processes in place to ensure scientific rigor, federal agencies and government leaders will build the confidence and public trust necessary for America to meet this challenge.
  • Evidence derived from clinical trials that meet FDA standards should drive assessment of which COVID-19 therapeutics are safe and effective.
  • Routine, rapid, accurate, and easy-to-access COVID-19 testing—followed by timely and efficient contact tracing—is needed to help prevent community spread.

The 79 organizations listed below signed the letter:

AcademyHealth
Aging Life Care Association
AliveAndKickn
Alliance for Aging Research
Alpha-1 Foundation
Alstrom Syndrome International
American Academy of Family Physicians
American Academy of Neurology
American Academy of Pediatrics
American Anthropological Association
American Association for Dental Research
American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy
American Association on Health and Disability
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
American College of Physicians
American Geriatrics Society
American Medical Association
American Nurses Association
American Pharmacists Association
American Psychiatric Association
American Society for Cell Biology
American Society of Consultant Pharmacists
American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Arthritis Foundation
Association of American Medical Colleges
Association of Black Cardiologists
Association of Jewish Aging Services
Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO)
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
Big Cities Health Coalition
Biophysical Society
CancerCare
Caregiver Action Network
Coalition for the Life Sciences
Entomological Society of America
Epilepsy Foundation
Everylife Foundation for Rare Diseases
Families USA
Federation of American Scientists
FORCE: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered
Friends of Cancer Research
Global Healthy Living Foundation
Global Liver Institute
GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer
HealthyWomen
Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome Network
Infectious Diseases Society of America
Lakeshore Foundation
Lupus and Allied Diseases Association, Inc.
Lupus Foundation of America
Men’s Health Network
Mended Hearts
MLD Foundation
National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
National Breast Cancer Coalition
National Communication Association
National Consumers League
National Foundation for Infectious Diseases
National Health Council
National Hispanic Medical Association
National Medical Association
National Minority Quality Forum
National Organization for Rare Disorders
National Psoriasis Foundation
National Treasury Employees Union (representing the employees of FDA)
NBIA Disorders Association
Phelan-McDermid Syndrome Foundation
Prevent Blindness
Prostate Cancer International
Public Affairs Council
Spina Bifida Association
StopAfib.org
The Arc of the United States
The Gerontological Society of America
The Mended Hearts, Inc
Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy, University of the Pacific
Tribal Ground LLC
USP

About the Alliance for Aging Research

The Alliance for Aging Research is the leading nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the pace of scientific discoveries and their application to vastly improve the universal human experience of aging and health. The Alliance believes advances in research help people live longer, happier, more productive lives and reduce healthcare costs over the long term. For more than 30 years, the Alliance has guided efforts to substantially increase funding and focus for aging at the National Institutes of Health and Food and Drug Administration; built influential coalitions to guide groundbreaking regulatory improvements for age-related diseases; and created award-winning, high-impact educational materials to improve the health and well-being of older adults and their family caregivers. For more information, visit www.agingresearch.org.

Contact: Lauren Smith
[email protected]
Direct: (202) 688-1229
Cell: (240) 498-8123

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