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Ousted Scientist’s Whistleblower Complaint Cites “Political Connections and Cronyism”

HeadlineMay 06, 2020

Top government vaccine specialist Dr. Rick Bright filed a whistleblower complaint Tuesday with the Office of Special Counsel, saying he was forced from his job after he resisted the Trump administration’s promotion of untested treatments for COVID-19. Dr. Rick Bright directed the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, until he was abruptly removed from his post last month and reassigned to the National Institutes of Health. In his scathing 89-page complaint, Dr. Bright says he was pressured to sign off on untested treatments for COVID-19 — like the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which was aggressively promoted by President Trump as a panacea for the disease despite no evidence of its efficacy and serious, sometimes life-threatening side effects. Dr. Bright spoke to reporters in a teleconference Tuesday.

Rick Bright: “Time after time, I was pressured to ignore or dismiss expert and scientific recommendations, and instead to award lucrative contracts based on political connections. In other words, I was pressured to let politics and cronyism drive decisions, over the opinions of the best scientists we have in government.”

Dr. Bright also says he repeatedly and urgently demanded action in January to address the looming pandemic — including a critical shortage of personal protective equipment for doctors, like N95 face masks — but was ignored.

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