UPDATE: Broad 329,000-Page Document Request Led to FDA’s 2076 ‘Scheduling Dispute’

UPDATE: While one group of physicians has complained that the FDA is slow-walking the release of vaccine-approval documents, Snopes.com points out you can also see this story from a different perspective: A scheduling dispute related to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for more than than 329,000 pages of COVID-19 vaccine data led to misleading social media posts in November 2021. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed a schedule to process and release 500 pages every month, arguing that this is the standard rate to process FOIA requests as "reviewing and redacting records for exempt information is a time-consuming process." The FDA would start releasing this data immediately, but the full set of pages would not be processed until 2076. The FDA argued that the amount of time required to fulfill this request is due to the broad FOIA request that involves hundreds of thousands of pages. Snopes emphasizes that the FDA "did not request a delay in the release of its COVID-19 data until 2076," and notes they were responding to a request for the 329,000 pages in just 108 days with a very small number of qualified respondents. "Courts do not waiver from the standard 500 page per month processing rate even when a FOIA request would take years to process..." [reads the FDA's response]. "FDA has invited Plaintiff to narrow its request by specifying records it no longer wants FDA to process and release, and Plaintiff has declined to do so. If Plaintiff decides to request fewer records, then FDA will be able to complete its processing at an earlier date." Snopes adds that the scheduling issue will be settled by a U.S. district judge next month. Slashdot reader schwit1 had shared this report from Substack, written by Aaron Siri. He is the Managing Partner of Siri & Glimstad, a law firm representing the plaintiffs in the case. From the report: The FDA has asked (PDF) a federal judge to make the public wait until the year 2076 to disclose all of the data and information it relied upon to license Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine. That is not a typo. It wants 55 years to produce this information to the public. As explained in a prior article, the FDA repeatedly promised "full transparency" with regard to Covid-19 vaccines, including reaffirming "the FDA's commitment to transparency" when licensing Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine. With that promise in mind, in August and immediately following approval of the vaccine, more than 30 academics, professors, and scientists from this country's most prestigious universities requested the data and information submitted to the FDA by Pfizer to license its COVID-19 vaccine. The FDA's response? It produced nothing. So, in September, my firm filed a lawsuit against the FDA on behalf of this group to demand this information. To date, almost three months after it licensed Pfizer's vaccine, the FDA still has not released a single page. Not one. Instead, two days ago, the FDA asked a federal judge to give it until 2076 to fully produce this information. The FDA asked the judge to let it produce the 329,000+ pages of documents Pfizer provided to the FDA to license its vaccine at the rate of 500 pages per month, which means its production would not be completed earlier than 2076. Further reading: FDA Wants 55 Years To Process FOIA Request Over Vaccine Data (Paywalled Reuters story)

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