February, 2021

The FDA and COVID-19

A political economy perspective
  • Raymond J. March

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This article utilizes a political economy framework to examine how FDA regulations impacted the U.S. healthcare sector's ability to address COVID‐19. I specifically examine the developing COVID‐19 testing, the approval of the medication remdesivir, and COVID‐19 vaccines. By examining periods before and after the FDA issued Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs), my analysis finds that the FDA's regulations enacted before the COVID‐19 pandemic began strongly restricted clinician and patient access to COVID‐19 testing, remdesivir treatment, and approving vaccines. After the FDA issued EUAs, the healthcare sector quickly adopted COVID‐19 testing and remdesivir with little evidence of negative consequences. These findings contribute to the economics literature examining the FDA and contemporary COVID‐19 policy research.