Speed Reads

Yikes

Trump administration allegedly removed doctor developing COVID-19 vaccine for refusing to back hydroxychloroquine

Dr. Rick Bright, the federal official formerly leading coronavirus vaccine development, says he was ousted this week for putting science over "politics and cronyism."

Bright was removed from his post as director of the Department of Health and Human Services' Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, Stat News reported earlier this week. Bright confirmed the news on Wednesday with a scathing statement, specifically saying he was ousted for not backing President Trump's preferred yet unproven treatment for COVID-19: hydroxychloroquine.

In his statement, Bright said he was transferred to a "less impactful position at the National Institute of Health," and he "believes" it was because he insisted the federal government funnel congressional funding "into safe and scientifically vetted solutions, and not in drugs, vaccines, and other technologies that lack scientific merit." Specifically, Bright "limited the broad use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, promoted by the administration as a panacea, but which clearly lack scientific merit" he said in his statement. "Sidelining me ... and putting politics and cronyism ahead of science puts lives at risk," Bright continued.

Trump has repeatedly touted hydroxychloroquine as a "game changer" in treating COVID-19, even though it has proved ineffective and even deadly for some patients.