HHS doctor says he was demoted for pushing back on hydroxychloroquine treatment touted by Trump
Category: Entirely NewVia: tig • 9 months ago • 0 comments
By: Washington Examiner
Dr. Rick Bright, who headed the Health and Human Services agency tasked with creating a coronavirus vaccine, said that he was demoted after pushing for more evidence regarding hydroxychloroquine, the drug touted by President Trump as a possible treatment for COVID-19.
Bright was removed from his job as the director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority this week to a less influential position at the National Institutes of Health, according to a statement from his lawyers, a demotion he attributed to his "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."
HHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Bright also said, that contrary to directives from HHS leadership, he limited the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, two drugs used to treat malaria and lupus that Trump has played up as the most promising coronavirus treatments on the market today. The drugs have not gone through clinical trials showing they are effective COVID-19 treatments.
"Rushing blindly towards unproven drugs can be disastrous and result in countless more deaths," Bright said. "Science, in service to the health and safety of the American people, must always trump politics."
Before he was given another post at the National Institutes of Health, Bright had served as BARDA director for about four years. He said he will request that the Inspector General of HHS investigate the ways that the Trump administration "has politicized the work of BARDA" in pushing scientists to fund companies with connections to politicians.