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Press Release

Trump Administration Wrongly Retaliated Against HHS Whistleblower

Experts shouldn't fear reprisal for speaking the truth. In this case, the public stakes are literally a matter of life and death.
(Illustration: CJ Ostrosky/POGO)

(WASHINGTON)—The Trump administration punished Health and Human Services (HHS) official Dr. Rick Bright after he proceeded with caution on a medication touted by President Trump as a potential COVID-19 treatment, the New York Times reported this afternoon.

The administration interfered with the government's urgent response to a crisis to remove Dr. Bright from his key post as director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority and reassign him to a different position within HHS.

Dr. Bright sought to limit the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, two unproven drugs touted by President Donald Trump. The administration then retaliated against him for ignoring orders to make the drugs more widely available. Earlier this week the Associated Press reported that a test of the drug in veterans hospitals showed no benefit and resulted in more deaths.

“We need the best uncensored scientific advice guiding federal decision-making and public communications, now more than ever. Experts shouldn't fear reprisal for speaking the truth. In this case, the public stakes are literally a matter of life and death,” said Danielle Brian, executive director of POGO. “Punishing this whistleblower for doing his job sends us back to the dark ages.”

Media Contacts: Danielle Brian, Executive Director at the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), [email protected]; or Caitlin MacNeal, Media Relations Manager at POGO, [email protected]

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Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that investigates and exposes waste, corruption, abuse of power, and when the government fails to serve the public or silences those who report wrongdoing.

We champion reforms to achieve a more effective, ethical, and accountable federal government that safeguards constitutional principles.