Senate Democrats call on FDA to change ‘discriminatory’ blood donation policies

Nearly two dozen Senate Democrats have asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for an update on its efforts to change what they call ‘discriminatory blood donor deferral policies’ for men. homosexuals.

In a letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Becerra and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Robert Califf, Senate Democrats asked them to act on the latest scientific evidence and update their blood donation policies amid the first ever declared national blood shortage.

The senses. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Kirsten Gillibrand (DN.Y.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) along with 23 of their colleagues signed the letter and said it would be a “long overdue.” a step that would significantly increase the base of eligible donors.

They further wrote that while they note and applaud the agency’s responsiveness at the start of the pandemic when the FDA shortened the deferral period for men who have sex with men (MSM) from 12 months to three months, it is “essential” that the FDA take further action.

“For nearly 40 years, sexually active MSM have not been allowed to donate blood. This must change,” the letter read.

According to the letter, due to advances in blood screening and safety technology, a time-based policy for gay and bisexual men is not scientifically sound.

They added that it continues to “de facto exclude a whole group of people from the donor base and fails to respond to urgent requests at the time”.

They demanded that the FDA adopt evidence-based policies focused on an individual’s risk assessment, instead of what they call “inaccurate and outdated stereotypes” currently present in deferral guidelines.

The agency’s current three-month deferral period was updated by 12 months in 2020 to meet the “urgent need” for blood during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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