Dr. Rick Bright, a former federal vaccine agency leader, released a statement Wednesday following his demotion, alleging that he was ousted because of his call to resist the adoption of an untested drug treatment promoted by US President Donald Trump as a cure for COVID-19.
"I believe this transfer was 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", Bright said in his statement.
Bright insisted that his professional background makes him ready to confront challenges including the coronavirus pandemic and that he "rightly resisted efforts to provide an unproven drug on demand to the American public".
"Sidelining me in the middle of this pandemic and placing politics and cronyism ahead of science puts lives at risk and stunts national efforts to safely and effectively address this urgent public health crisis", Bright observed.
Donald Trump claimed he "never heard" of Rick Bright when asked about doctor losing his job at the coronavirus task force press briefing Wednesday.
No comments from the US Department of Health and Human Services have followed the doctor's statement.
Bright was removed from his position as the director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) on Tuesday and given a lower echelon job at the National Institutes of Health.
Earlier, Trump widely promoted anti-malarial drugs as an effective treatment to cure COVID-19, repeatedly tweeting that "hydroxychloroquine and azitromycin, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine". The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) underlined that both meds remain under investigation to test their effectiveness against COVID-19.