Scientist to File Whistleblower Complaint After Removal from Federal Agency Over Coronavirus Drug

Scientist to File Whistleblower Complaint After Removal from Federal Agency Over Coronavirus Drug

A scientist who was removed as director of a federal agency working on a coronavirus vaccine is filing a whistleblower complaint alleging retaliation for his resistance to promoting a drug favored by President Donald Trump, his lawyers said Thursday.

Rick Bright, former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, is also accusing the Trump administration of making “demonstrably false statements” about him.

“In our filing we will make clear that Dr. Bright was sidelined for one reason only — because he resisted efforts to provide unfettered access to potentially dangerous drugs, including chloroquine, a drug promoted by the administration as a panacea, but which is untested and possibly deadly when used improperly,” Debra S. Katz and Lisa J. Banks said in a statement.

Bright says he was then “involuntarily transferred to a more limited and less impactful position at the National Institutes of Health.”

Trump, meanwhile, said Wednesday he didn’t know Bright.

The complaint, according to Bright’s lawyers, will be filed with the Office of Special Counsel and the inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services. They said it will explain “the retaliatory treatment to which he was subjected by HHS political leadership after raising appropriate science-based concerns about White House pressure on treatment and vaccines related to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

William Vaillancourt

William Vaillancourt

William Vaillancourt is a writer and editor from New Hampshire whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Progressive, Slate and Areo Magazine, among other places. He holds a BA in Political Science and History from Boston University.