In August, the Food and Drug Administration kicked Emily Miller out of her role as the agency’s top spokesperson. Miller, a right-wing activist and former One America News reporter, was installed with the FDA by the White House and given the role of Assistant Commissioner for Media Affairs, a role typically filled by impartial officials. She held the position for just 11 days and was fired amid intense controversy after several high-profile missteps by the agency.
But now it turns out that Miller never left the FDA. She is still with the regulatory body and has… given since then a new, perhaps more prestigious title. And as before, she causes trouble for the agency.
Miller is now the senior advisor to the FDA’s chief of staff. As an FDA employee, she has publicly promoted an unapproved drug as “as a cure” for COVID-19 on Twitter. Her tweets support President Trump’s unproven and potentially dangerous statements and may violate FDA regulations. The drug she promoted is currently under review by the FDA for emergency use, raising concerns about the agency’s impartiality.
Although Miller’s Twitter account changed in recent days to remove her title with the FDA and any association with the agency, she is still listed on the FDA’s website. However, the website does not list its new or old title.
The FDA did not immediately respond to Ars’s request for comment. But in an answer To Donna Young, senior reporter for S&P Global News, the agency said, “Because of the policy, the FDA does not comment on human resources, nor do we comment on potential or open compliance issues.”
The drug Trump and Miller cited as “as a cure” for COVID-19 is a cocktail of monoclonal antibodies made by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. Trump got the drug soon 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 on Sept. 29 stating that high doses of its antibody cocktail appeared to decrease levels of SARS-CoV-2 more rapidly in infected patients who had not been hospitalized because of their infection. But the full data has not been published or released and the information available to date is not sufficient to determine whether the treatment is effective.
Trump received the experimental treatment as part of a “compassionate use” request and is one of fewer than 10 people to have received the drug in this way, according to the company.
On Oct. 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 it has enough doses for about 50,000 patients and expects to have a total of 300,000 doses available in the coming months.
The FDA is still considering the request.