WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 29, 2020) – U.S. Reps. Andy Barr (R-KY) and John Yarmuth (D-KY) are spearheading a bipartisan effort to cut red tape at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and allow producers of distilled spirits to continue to manufacture hand sanitizer with current supplies in response to shortages created by the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.
This week, Barr and Yarmuth coauthored a letter – signed by 87 members of Congress in total, representing districts across the nation – that was sent to FDA Administrator Stephen M. Hahn urgently requesting that the agency update its guidance to recognize the use of undenatured alcohol in sanitizers. Undenatured alcohol – which distillers have readily available – is compliant with the World Health Organization’s hand sanitizer formula and has the same effectiveness as denatured alcohol.
Barr and Yarmuth’s request for clarification of the guideline would allow these distilled spirits producers to continue the charitable efforts they started immediately to help meet the demands of health workers, public servants, and those on the front lines of this public health crisis.
“Through the current guidance,” the members write, “the FDA is standing in the way of hundreds of thousands of gallons of hand sanitizer from being produced and given to those on the front lines battling this pandemic. We have a responsibility to provide more resources to help flatten the curve and alleviating this burden would allow distilleries the opportunity to step up and help their communities. We strongly urge the agency to update its guidance to recognize the use of undenatured alcohol in the production of hand sanitizer during the COVID-19 health crisis and work with industry on reasonable safeguards to keep hand sanitizer out of the hands of children. This will ensure distillers do not face a tax bill for filling a vital need in their communities.”