A top US vaccine scientist plans to file a whistleblower complaint, after alleging he was ousted in retaliation for not touting Trump-backed coronavirus treatments

  • Rick Bright was removed this week from his post as director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), which is overseen by the Health and Human Services Department.
  • He claimed he was ousted for refusing to promote unproven coronavirus treatments, and he plans to file a whistleblower complaint alleging retaliation, his lawyers said on Thursday.
  • Bright cited the reason behind his ouster was because he refused to suggest chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine – anti-malaria drugs – as treatments for the coronavirus.
  • The drugs were touted by President Donald Trump, though they have not been proven to be effective in treating the virus.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A top US vaccine scientist, who claimed he was ousted for refusing to promote unproven coronavirus treatments, plans to file a whistleblower complaint, his lawyers said on Thursday.

Rick Bright was removed this week as director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), which is overseen by the Health and Human Services Department.

Bright said the reason behind his ouster was because he refused to suggest chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine – anti-malaria drugs – as treatments for the coronavirus. The drugs were touted by President Donald Trump, though they have not been proven as a treatment for the coronavirus.

“I am speaking out because to combat this deadly virus, science – not politics or cronyism – has to lead the way,” Bright said in a statement, according to CNBC.

Debra Katz and Lisa Banks, Bright’s attorneys, said in a statement that the complaints will detail the alleged “retaliatory treatment” for “raising appropriate science-based concerns about White House pressure on treatment and vaccines related to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

They added that Bright plans to file complaints with the US Office of Special Counsel and the HHS’s Inspector General.

“In our filing, we will make clear that Dr. Bright was sidelined for one reason only – because he resisted efforts to provide unfettered access to potentially dangerous drugs, including chloroquine, a drug promoted by the administration as a panacea, but which is untested and possibly deadly when used improperly,” Bright’s lawyers said in a statement, according to Reuters.

The HHS told Business Insider’s Hillary Brueck in an email that “it was Dr. Bright who requested an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for donations of chloroquine that Bayer and Sandoz recently made to the Strategic National Stockpile for use on COVID-19 patients. The EUA is what made the donated product available for use in combating COVID-19.”

A source told NBC News that Bright and his team made the request to run a “randomised controlled clinical study because there was insufficient information on the benefit and the potential harms of the drug to patients with COVID-19.”

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