Back in August, the Food and Drug Administration ousted Emily Miller from her role as the agency’s top spokesperson. Miller, a right-wing activist and former One America News reporter, was installed in the FDA by the White House and given the role of Assistant Commissioner for Media Affairs, a role typically held by nonpartisan civil servants. She held the post for a mere 11 days and was fired amid intense controversy after several high-profile agency missteps.
But now it appears that Miller never left the FDA. She’s still at the regulatory agency and has since been given a new—perhaps more prestigious—title. And, as before, she is causing problems for the agency.
Miller is now the Senior Advisor to the Chief of Staff at the FDA. And, as an FDA employee, she has publicly promoted an unapproved drug as being “like a cure” for COVID-19 on twitter. Her tweets support unproven and potentially dangerous statements from President Trump and may violate FDA regulations. The drug she promoted is currently being reviewed by the FDA for emergency use, raising concerns about the agency’s impartiality.
Though Miller’s twitter account has been altered in recent days to remove her title at the FDA and any connection to the agency, she is still listed on the FDA’s website. The website does not list her new or old title, however.
The FDA did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment. But in a response to S&P Global News’ Senior Reporter Donna Young, the agency said: “As a matter of policy, FDA doesn’t comment on personnel matters nor do we comment on potential or open compliance matters.”
FDA reviewThe drug Trump and Miller were referring to as “like a cure” for COVID-19 is a cocktail of monoclonal antibodies made by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. Trump was given the drug swiftly after he revealed October 2 that he had tested positive for the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. The cocktail is still in clinical trials and has little data on its effectiveness.
Regeneron issued a press release September 29 stating that high doses of its antibody cocktail appeared to cause levels of SARS-CoV-2 to decrease more quickly in infected patients who were not hospitalized for their infection. But the full data has not been published or released, and the information available so far is not enough to determine if the treatment is effective.
Trump received the experimental treatment as part of a “compassionate use” request and is among fewer than 10 people who have received the drug this way, according to the company.
On October 7—the same day as Miller’s promotional tweet—Regeneron requested that the FDA issue an Emergency Use Authorization for the cocktail, which would open access to the drugs outside of clinical trials. Regeneron said that it has enough doses for about 50,000 patients and expects to make 300,000 doses total available within the next few months.
The FDA is still considering the request.