Politics

Top vaccine expert says he was removed from post for resisting Trump on hydroxychloroquine

Dr. Rick Bright, the director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, said that he was removed from his job for opposing the chloroquine treatment promoted by President Donald Trump.

(WebDesk) Dr. Rick Bright, the director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, said that he was removed from his job for opposing the chloroquine treatment promoted by President Donald Trump.

Dr. Rick Bright was transferred to a new, more narrow role at the National Institutes of Health this week, United States Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson confirmed.

“I believe this transfer was in response to my insistence that the government invest the billions of dollars allocated by Congress to address the COVID-19 pandemic into safe and scientifically vetted solutions, and not in drugs, vaccines and other technologies that lack scientific merit,” he said in a statement to US media.

In a statement late Wednesday, an HHS official directly linked Bright’s decisions to the health department’s acquisition of the malaria drugs.

“As it relates to chloroquine, it was Dr. Bright who requested an Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for donations of chloroquine that Bayer and Sandoz recently made to the Strategic National Stockpile for use on COVID-19 patients,” spokesperson Caitlin Oakley said. “The EUA is what made the donated product available for use in combating COVID-19.”

“Sidelining me in the middle of this pandemic and placing politics and cronyism ahead of science puts lives at risk and stunts national efforts to safely and effectively address this urgent public health crisis,” Bright said

Asked about Bright’s claims at Wednesday’s press briefing, Trump denied knowledge of his role and his abrupt ouster.

“I never heard of him,” Trump said. “The guy says he was pushed out of a job, maybe he was, maybe he wasn’t. You’d have to hear the other side.”

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