Ousted BARDA Official Blows Whistle on His Termination

The ousted director of a crucial U.S. agency charged with developing drugs to fight the coronavirus pandemic stated Wednesday he was dismissed because he called for cautious vetting of a treatment frequently lauded by President Trump.

Rick Bright mentioned in a statement that he was replaced as director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), and reassigned to a new position because he resisted efforts to push hydroxychloroquine and the related chloroquine as cures for COVID-19, the respiratory sickness attributable to the coronavirus.

Bright stated the U.S. authorities have promoted the medicines as a “panacea” even though they lack scientific merit.

Bright has retained a law agency, Katz, Marshall & Banks, recognized for representing whistleblowers.

The U.S. Division of Health and Human Services, which oversees BARDA, stated Tuesday that Bright had been moved to a brand new public-private partnership under the National Institutes of Health introduced last week.

Bright, an professional in vaccines and therapeutics was named BARDA’s director back in 2016 before Trump took office as president.

Trump has repeatedly lauded chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine as potential treatments for COVID-19, including saying early this month, “I may take it,” though doctors stated the medicines’ effectiveness had been unproven and further assessments were required.

When asked about Bright’s case at a media briefing Tuesday, Trump stated he was not acquainted with the official.