Former fed official files whistleblower complaint against HHS

Rick Bright, PhD, former director of an HHS agency at the center of the government's coronavirus pandemic response, filed a whistleblower complaint May 5 claiming he was fired after raising concerns about hydroxychloroquine, a drug being tested as a possible COVID-19 treatment.

Dr. Bright, who is one of the country's leading vaccine development experts, was removed from his role as director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority April 21 after leading the agency since 2016.

In the complaint, Dr. Bright said he resisted a push from HHS officials for widespread hydroxychloroquine use because claims of the drug's benefits lacked "scientific merit." 

But, he said, "the administration promoted [hydroxychloroquine] as a panacea and demanded that New York and New Jersey be 'flooded' with these drugs."

The complaint says "HHS political leadership retaliated against Dr. Bright for his objections and resistance to funding potentially dangerous drugs promoted by those with political connections and by the administration itself."

The complaint also says Dr. Bright warned HHS officials back in January about the coronavirus threat and the need to increase production of personal protective equipment. 

In the complaint, Dr. Bright asks to be reinstated as the BARDA director and for a full investigation into his removal.

Find the full whistleblower complaint here.

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