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 HahnStephen HahnTrump discussed sending infected Americans to Guantanamo Bay: book Stephen Hahn joining venture capital firm behind Moderna Redfield says Azar pressured him to revise COVID-19 data reports MORE 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 MaloneyTrump company in late-stage talks to sell DC hotel: report Trump Hotel lost more than M during presidency, say documents Overnight Health Care — Presented by Altria — Dip in COVID-19 cases offer possible sign of hope MORE (D-N.Y.), Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinJan. 6 panel votes to hold Bannon in contempt The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Altria - Political crosscurrents persist for Biden, Dems Trump, the elections and Jan. 6: What you might have missed this week MORE (D-Md.), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezThe Memo: Cuts to big bill vex Democrats Biden, Democrats risk everything unless they follow the Clinton pivot (they won't) Harris takes central role in climate fight MORE (D-N.Y.), Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) and Rep. Deb HaalandDeb HaalandOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by the American Petroleum Institute — Dems vow to keep emissions cuts Biden administration orders two-year study on Minnesota metals mine Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Biden administration breaks down climate finance roadmap 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.”