June 18, 2019

Chairman Takano Statement Following Reports that VA Fast-Tracked Controversial Drug Spravato to Treat Veterans

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  Today, Chairman Mark Takano released the following statement after reports from the Guardian and the Center for Public Integrity that the depressant Spravato has been fast-tracked through FDA approval processes and hurried through VA’s contracting process:

“I am incredibly alarmed by reporting today that suggests Spravato, a controversial new drug, is being rushed through critical reviews and may be prescribed to veterans before fully vetting the potential risks and benefits.

“Already, many concerns have been raised about the drug’s safety and efficacy, its suspicious fast-track approval through FDA review, and VA’s contracting process. Today’s reporting raises additional concerns that VA’s own process for objective review is being undercut by undue influences.  Questions remain about the ultimate impact on the health and safety of veterans, who should not be made into a “test case” while the clinical community continues to gather data about this treatment.

“We demand that VA provide documents and information about its review and contracting process to adequately address critical questions—including whether VA officials were pressured by the White House or the Mar-a-Lago “three” to prescribe this drug to veterans. Spravato should not be added to VA’s formulary until we have more answers about what this means for our nation’s veterans.”