In response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asserted that it would need until nearly the end of the century to produce the hundreds of thousands of pages of data related to its approval of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.
But a federal judge on Thursday totally rejected that absurd proposal and ordered the FDA to rapidly release all of the documents within just a matter of months, the Washington Examiner reported.
Indeed, while the FDA said it could release about 500 pages per month of the estimated 450,000 total — a process that would take about 75 years, or until 2097 — U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman instead ordered the agency to produce the documents at a rate of 55,000 pages per month, which would see the process completed around September of 2022.
A Reuters reporter first revealed in December the laughable timeline of production proposed by the FDA in response to the FOIA lawsuit over its Pfizer approval data that was filed by a group of doctors and scientists known as Public Health and Medical Professionals for Transparency.
That group’s attorney, Aaron Siri, told the court that the FDA’s proposed production rate was “so slow that the documents will not be fully produced until almost all of the scientists, attorneys, and most of the Americans that received Pfizer’s product, will have died of old age.”
He also told the Reuters reporter that it was nothing short of “dystopian for the government to give Pfizer billions, mandate Americans to take its product, prohibit Americans from suing for harms, but yet refuse to let Americans see the data underlying its licensure.”
“Paramount public importance”
It would appear that Judge Pittman, appointed by President Donald Trump in 2019, agreed with Siri and the group he represented, as he issued his breathtaking 4-page ruling Thursday that ordered an expedited release of the documents requested.
In doing so, Pittman shared a quote on “open government” from Founding Father and President James Madison, who once wrote, “[a] popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps, both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”
He also quoted former President John F. Kennedy, who said that “a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people,” as well as the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who once said that “[e]xcessive administrative secrecy … feeds conspiracy theories and reduces the public’s confidence in the government.”
Judge Pittman went on to further note that, in relation to FOIA releases generally, time was of the essence and delay should be avoided and thus, given the “paramount public importance” of this particular request, he ordered the “expeditious completion” of the request as being “not only practicable, but necessary.”
“Great win for transparency”
In a Substack post from attorney Siri, he celebrated Judge Pittman’s ruling, writing:
“A great win for transparency and removes one of the strangleholds federal ‘health’ authorities have had on the data needed for independent scientists to offer solutions and address serious issues with the current vaccine program — issues which include waning immunity, variants evading vaccine immunity, and, as the CDC has confirmed, that the vaccines do not prevent transmission.”
“No person should ever be coerced to engage in an unwanted medical procedure,” he added. “And while it is bad enough the government violated this basic liberty right by mandating the Covid-19 vaccine, the government also wanted to hide the data by waiting to fully produce what it relied upon to license this product until almost every American alive today is dead. That form of governance is destructive to liberty and antithetical to the openness required in a democratic society.”