Whistleblower Alleges Trump Administration Ignored Coronavirus Warnings
Do you want to hear from the whistleblower?
by Axios | 5.5.20
Rick Bright, the former director of the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), filed a whistleblower complaint Tuesday alleging that the Department of Health and Human Services failed to take early action to mitigate the threat of the novel coronavirus.
Flashback: Bright said last month he believes he was ousted after clashing with HHS leadership over his attempts to limit the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat the coronavirus.
- President Trump has repeatedly touted the use of hydroxychloroquine for the virus. In late April, the FDA cautioned doctors on the potentially life-threatening side effects of treating COVID-19 patients with the antimalarial drug.
What's new: In his complaint, Bright claims he was excluded from an HHS meeting on the coronavirus in late January after he "pressed for urgent access to funding, personnel, and clinical specimens, including viruses" to develop treatments for the coronavirus should it spread outside of Asia.
- Bright alleges it "became increasingly clear" in late January that "HHS leadership was doing nothing to prepare for the imminent mask shortage."
- Bright claims he "resisted efforts to fall into line with the Administration’s directive to promote the broad use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine and to award lucrative contracts for these and other drugs even though they lacked scientific merit and had not received prior scientific vetting."
- He adds that "even as HHS leadership began to acknowledge the imminent shortages in critical medical supplies, they failed to recognize the magnitude of the problem, and they failed to take the necessary urgent action."
What's next: Bright plans to testify before the House Energy Subcommittee on Health on May 14, his lawyers told reporters on Tuesday.
The White House declined to comment on this story. HHS did not respond to requests for comment.
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