The director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) was recently removed from his position as a leader in the search to find a cure for COVID-19. The doctor claimed in a statement that the reason for this reassignment to a narrower job at the National Institutes of Health was his refusal to dedicate money toward the use of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for the virus.
While experts, including Trump advisor and top infectious disease specialist Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, claimed the drug was no solution, the president repeatedly cited the drug as a potential silver bullet for this pandemic. The doctor stood with his colleagues in believing it was not a viable option for treatment and said he paid the price for this.
“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,” he said in a scathing statement released to the press. “I am speaking out because to combat this deadly virus, science — not politics or cronyism — has to lead the way.”
The drug was tested at a VA hospital with disastrous results that included potential harm to patients. The president and his supporters have subsequently backed off the advocacy of the drug. While asked about the whistle blower’s statement during his daily press conference, the president claims he did not know who the doctor was.
The doctor hired attorneys who represent whistle blowers, including the women who testified against Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. In a statement, they called the doctor’s removal to be “retaliation, plain and simple.”