DEAR DR. ROACH: I have a large lipoma. I read that liposuction is an easy way to remove them. Is this true? — N.E.
The Bioshield Act, along with the laws that later modified it, was not intended as a carte blanche. For instance, an E.U.A. can only be granted during a declared public health or national security emergency, and is supposed to be used only for products that have no adequate, approved or available alternatives. But the F.D.A. was granted wide discretion to decide whether a product ought to be made available to the public. By law, the agency can grant E.U.A.s to products that “may be effective,” whose “known and potential benefits” outweigh “the known and potential risks.” It is up to the agency, however, to determine what those criteria mean.
“It was deliberately a quite flexible kind of standard,” said Dr. Jesse Goodman, the director of the Center on Medical Product Access, Safety and Stewardship at Georgetown, and the F.D.A.’s chief scientist from 2009 to 2014. E.U.A.s are intended to be