Redfield told Sanjay Gupta as part of a CNN special report that his relationship with Azar had become fragile throughout the coronavirus pandemic, saying he was “most offended” by calls from his office for adjust CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).
“The one time that was most blatant was not just the secretary, his office and his lawyers who pressured me, but as I walked home, his lawyer and his chief of staff told me. called and pressured me again for at least an hour, “Redfield told Gupta on CNN” Covid War: The Pandemic Doctors Speak Out “.
“Even to the point of accusing me of not making this change that would cost, you know, thousands of lives,” he said.
“I finally had a moment in life where I said, you know, enough is enough,” Redfield added. ” You know? If you want to send me back, send me back. I am not changing the MMWR. “
In his interview, Redfield appeared to confirm earlier reports, including from The Associated Press in December, about the CDC in the face of pressure from Trump administration officials to edit the MMWR, often referred to as “the voice of the CDC.”
The former CDC director went on to say that Azar “may deny this, but it’s true”.
Azar denied the account of Redfield’s events in a statement to The Hill.
“Since the start of this pandemic, I have insisted on giving the public and media access to both critical information and data as soon as we got it, as well as our scientist,” Azar said. the scientific independence of the MMWR and other scientific evidence and data-based publications and disclosures by HHS and its agencies, and Dr RedfieldRobert RedfieldBlinken Suggests US Won’t Take Punitive Action Against China Over Overnight Health Care COVID-19: More Johnson & Johnson Doses Coming Next Week | This is where the schools are back | WHO urges rich countries to donate 10 million doses of vaccine Lawmakers say manufacturers better positioned to deal with future pandemics READ MORE known. Any suggestion that I lobbied or asked Dr Redfield to change the content of a single peer-reviewed MMWR scientific article is false. ”
In a separate joint statement to the network, Azar and his deputies said they “have always viewed the MMWR as sacrosanct.”
Former Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Stephen HahnStephen HahnThe Hill’s 12:30 Report – Biden’s first official trip as president The Hill’s Morning Report – With trial over, Biden renews push for COVID-19 Bill How scientists saved Trump’s FDA from the policy PLUS also criticized Azar in his interview with Gupta, saying the secretary had blocked the FDA from regulating lab-developed tests, which was “a line in the sand for me.”
“It was reported in the press that we had a shouting match,” Hahn said during the special report. “I can assure you 100% that I didn’t yell and yell at the Secretary of Health and Social Services. “
When asked if Azar yelled at him, Hahn replied, “You should ask him that question”, before acknowledging that there was “pressure”.
“If someone tries to ask me to do something that I don’t think is right and my patient the American people need something different,” Hahn said before shrugging.
In a statement to CNN, Azar said that “Hahn’s recitation of this call is incorrect,” claiming that “the only untimely conduct… was the threat of Dr. Hahn’s resignation,” which Hahn denies having taken place.
“The FDA’s illegal assertion of jurisdiction over common lab-developed tests… has slowed the development of US COVID tests,” Azar said in the statement.