By Jonathan Chait |
Yesterday, Dr. Rick Bright was suddenly deposed from his position as head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, an agency at the center of government efforts to produce treatment and a vaccine for the coronavirus. The firing “couldn’t come at a more inopportune time for the office, which invests in drugs, devices, and other technologies that help address infectious disease outbreaks and which has been at the center of the government’s coronavirus pandemic response,” reported the health publication STAT.
Today, Bright gave an explanation for his untimely departure: He believes he was pushed out for insisting on limits to the use of hydroxychloroquine, an unproven treatment that Trump has touted as a miracle cure for the virus. “Specifically, and contrary to misguided directives, I limited the broad use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, promoted by the administration as a panacea, but which clearly lack scientific merit,” Bright tells Maggie Haberman.
Bright also alleges that political appointees pressured him to support drugs promoted by Trump’s political allies: “I also resisted efforts to fund potentially dangerous drugs promoted by those with political connections.” That Trump loyalists’ lobbyists tried to subvert the scientific method to allow their donors and political allies to benefit from the billions of dollars in federal funding is an explosive and all-too-plausible charge.