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Florida medical boards eliminate loophole allowing minors to receive puberty blockers in clinical trials

Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Two Florida medical boards approved a rule barring minors from receiving nonsurgical gender dysphoria "treatments" like puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones as part of a clinical trial, Florida's Voice reported Friday.

"This board has reviewed hundreds of studies, we talk to doctors, we’ve received testimony from both sides of this issue, and the overwhelming data does not support [the use of chemical and surgical treatments for gender dysphoria,]" Florida Board of Medicine board member Dr. Hector Vila, M.D. said, according to the same outlet.

"This isn’t about trans- or homophobia,” Tampa-based Vila said, according to Health News Florida.

“This isn’t about politics. This is about the information we reviewed, the testimony we listened to and the narrow set of circumstances in which we’re trying to protect children given the circumstances that we have.”

The Florida Board of Medicine and the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine approved a rule in November 2022 that banned physicians from prescribing puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and some surgical interventions for new patients under age 18, Tampa Bay Times reported.

During the November meeting, the boards did not come to an agreement on how to address situations where medical interventions were already underway.

The boards met again Friday at the request of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.). They met to vote on rules that cover minors for whom puberty-blocking treatments or the receipt of cross-sex hormones had already begun, Florida's Voice explained.

The two boards had disagreed on whether treatments could continue if they were part of a clinical trial approved by an Institutional Review Board.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration defines an IRB as a "group that has been formally designated to review and monitor biomedical research involving human subjects."

The purpose of an IRB review is "to assure, both in advance and by periodic review, that appropriate steps are taken to protect the rights and welfare of humans participating as subjects in the research."

On Friday, the Board of Osteopathic Medicine reversed course, agreeing with the Board of Medicine to eliminate the exception for minors in clinical trials.

In other words, Florida's medical boards came together to close a loophole that put minors at risk of irreversible harm. In the state of Florida, minors will be barred from undergoing dangerous, radical, unproven, chemical and surgical interventions to "treat" gender dysphoria, for any reason, including research.

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