The medical doctor in charge of the federal agency tasked with developing a coronavirus vaccine was abruptly removed by the Trump administration and reassigned to a separate, smaller agency this week after he insisted that science and not “politics or cronyism” determine the path forward.
Dr. Rick Bright was removed after questioning President Donald Trump’s promotion and apparent obsession of two malaria drugs, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, that had not shown any scientific promise in treating COVID-19 patients, The New York Times reports. A study released Tuesday shows hydroxychloroquine more than doubles the death rate of COVID-19 patients. President Trump and Fox News spent weeks promoting the drug.
Bright, who is a career government official and not a political appointee, was the director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, and the deputy assistant secretary for preparedness and response.
He has spent his entire career developing vaccines.
“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,” Dr. Bright said in a statement to The New York Times’s Maggie Haberman.
“I am speaking out because to combat this deadly virus, science — not politics or cronyism — has to lead the way.”
“My professional background has prepared me for a moment like this — to confront and defeat a deadly virus that threatens Americans and people around the globe. To this point, I have led the government’s efforts to invest in the best science available to combat the Covid-19 pandemic,” Dr. Bright added.
“Unfortunately, this resulted in clashes with H.H.S. political leadership, including criticism for my proactive efforts to invest early into vaccines and supplies critical to saving American lives. I also resisted efforts to fund potentially dangerous drugs promoted by those with political connections,” Bright said.
Axios has Dr. Bright’s full statement. In part it reads:
Specifically, and contrary to misguided directives, I limited the broad use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, promoted by the administration as a panacea, but which clearly lack scientific merit.
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.
I will request that the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services investigate the manner in which this administration has politicized the work of BARDA and has pressured me and other conscientious scientists to fund companies with political connections and efforts that lack scientific merit.
Rushing blindly towards unproven drugs can be disastrous and result in countless more deaths. Science, in service to the health and safety of the American people, must always trump politics.”
Here’s Dr. Bright speaking about advances in detection of illnesses like the flu two years ago:
Enjoy this piece?
… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.
NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.
Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.
- WHY?3 days ago
‘Riding Bikes While Black’: New Jersey Cops Under Fire for Confiscating Bike and Arresting Teen
- OPINION20 hours ago
Sonia Sotomayor Rips Brett Kavanaugh With Warning New Justices Are ‘Willing to Overrule Precedent’
- News2 days ago
Columbus Police Shoot and Kill 15 Year Old Black Girl Who Called for Help, Family Says: Reports
- RACISM RACISM RACISM2 days ago
Arizona Lawmaker Uses Racist Slur and Calls for Black Representative to ‘Be Sat Down’ and Not ‘Be Allowed to Speak’
- RIGHT WING HYPOCRISY3 days ago
McEnany Lectures Biden: ‘It’s the Role of the President of the United States to Stay Back, to Not Inflame’
- 'GUILTY CONSCIENCE'2 days ago
‘A Hit Dog Will Holler’: Congresswoman Slammed for Claiming Biden and Harris ‘Say We’re All Racists’
- News3 days ago
Ted Nugent Tests Positive for Coronavirus He Called Fake: ‘I Thought I Was Dying’
- 'SERIOUS CONSTITUTIONAL CONCERNS'2 days ago
Louis DeJoy’s Postal Inspectors Are Secretly Monitoring Social Media Accounts via a ‘Covert’ Program: Report