Dr. Rick Bright has retained an attorney and will be filing a whistleblower complaint after the Trump administration fired him from his position as head of the federal agency charged with developing a COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Bright was moved to a different agency with a narrower focus after he raised concerns over President Donald Trump's obsession with promoting hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug recent studies found doubles the death rate in coronavirus patients.
"The Administration’s removal of Dr. Bright from his position as director of BARDA is retaliation plain and simple," Bright's attorneys, Debra Katz and Lisa Banks, said in a statement, CNN White House Correspondent Jeremy Diamond reports.
"The results from the Administration’s refusal to listen to the experts and to sideline those like Dr. Bright who point out any errors in the government’s response will continue to be catastrophic for the American people," Bright's attorneys add. "We will request that the Office of Special Counsel seek a stay of Dr. Bright’s termination and that Dr. Bright be permitted to remain in his position pending the OSC and IG’s investigation of this unlawful forced transfer."
Dr. Bright says he was removed "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.”
“I am speaking out because to combat this deadly virus, science — not politics or cronyism — has to lead the way.”
Dr. Bright has spent his entire career developing vaccines.