House Democrats urge FDA to revise policy limiting gay, bisexual men from donating plasma

House Democrats urge FDA to revise policy limiting gay, bisexual men from donating plasma
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Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee are urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to lift restrictions barring gay and bisexual men who have recovered from the coronavirus from donating plasma for research.

The Democrats wrote a letter Thursday to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn arguing that keeping men who have sex with men (MSM) from donating plasma undermines efforts to find a treatment for COVID-19.

“There is no scientific justification for denying MSM who have recovered from coronavirus the opportunity to safely donate plasma. Yet, gay and bisexual men who have recovered from coronavirus and attempted to donate have been turned away in accordance with FDA’s blanket deferral recommendation,” Democrats wrote in the letter

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“To ensure that efforts to develop an effective coronavirus treatment can proceed unhindered, we urge FDA to immediately modify its deferral recommendations so that all gay and bisexual men who have recovered from coronavirus and can safely donate plasma to support treatment research efforts are able to do so,” they added. 

The letter was sent by Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn Bosher MaloneyDemocrats blast Trump for commuting Roger Stone: 'The most corrupt president in history' Trump commutes Roger Stone's sentence New York candidates left on hold as primary results trickle in MORE (D-N.Y.), Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinDemocrats start cracking down on masks for lawmakers Clyburn threatens to end in-person coronavirus committee hearings if Republicans won't wear masks The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Dems, GOP dig in on police reform ahead of House vote MORE (D-Md.), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezTrump tweets his support for Goya Foods amid boycott Hispanic Caucus requests meeting with private detention center CEOs Trump glosses over virus surge during Florida trip MORE (D-N.Y.), Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) and Rep. Deb HaalandDebra HaalandOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Internal watchdog probing Park Police actions toward Lafayette Square protesters | Democrats detail their .5T green infrastructure plan | Green groups challenge Trump water rules rollback Internal watchdog probing Park Police actions toward Lafayette Square protesters Judge orders Mnuchin to give Native American tribes full stimulus funding MORE (D-N.M.). 

An FDA official was not immediately available for comment. 

The FDA revised guidelines last month recommending a three-month deferral for men who have sex with men from donating blood, shortening the previous policy which called for a full year ban. 

In their letter, the Democrats said shortening the deferral period was “a good first step,” but said the FDA’s policy “continues to exclude gay and bisexual men who can safely donate blood and blood products.”