Whistlebolwer Dr Rick Bright, who says he was removed from his position leading a key federal health agency after sounding the alarm of the coronavirus pandemic, claimed he was removed from high-level meetings by the Trump administration after raising alarms.
The former director of Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), was called in front of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s health subcommittee on Thursday to address the pandemic and his 89-page explosive whistleblower complaint.
After calling for an increase in production of critical medical supplies, such as personal protective equipment, starting in January, Dr Bright said “those alarms were not responded to with action” and he “faced hostility and marginalization from HHS officials”.
“I was told my urging were causing a commotion and I was removed from those meetings,” Dr Bright added.
His whistleblower complaint alleged he was removed from his key leadership position, in part, after he challenged the promotion of the drug hydroxychloroquine, which Donald Trump initially advertised as a “game-changer” drug against Covid-19.
When speaking to the House committee, Dr Rick Bright said he thought the US could address the pandemic if the country had “proper leadership … with science leading the way”.
“Time is running out because the virus is spreading everywhere,” he said, after warning of the “darkest winter in modern history” to come during his opening testimony.
“A Covid-19 resurgence this fall could be devastating for our healthcare systems,” he added.
Health officials have raised concerns about how the coronavirus would inundate hospitals in the fall because a future resurgence could happen during the height of flu season. Dr Bright echoed those concerns.