Boston (April 22, 2020) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today called on the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to open an investigation into the shocking and disturbing allegation that the Trump administration removed Dr. Rick Bright as director of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), and as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, because he questioned and resisted President Trump’s promotion of the drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine as treatments for the novel coronavirus. On Tuesday, HHS announced that Dr. Bright, who has served as BARDA’s director since 2016, was being reassigned to a lower-level position at the National Institutes of Health.
“Dr. Bright’s abrupt reassignment raises serious questions whether the Trump administration retaliated against him for advocating for science and against Trump’s misinformation,” said Senator Markey. “Our government’s response to the coronavirus crisis must be based on science and data, especially when it comes to recommendations of treatments during a pandemic. Listening to and relying on to our public health, medical, and scientific experts is more critical than it has ever been. If Donald Trump doesn’t like scientific evidence because it doesn’t support his view of the world or financial interests, he cannot be permitted to simply silence the scientists.
“I urge you to investigate Dr. Bright’s allegations. As the nation battles the coronavirus pandemic, science, not politics, must be our lodestar.”