On Thursday it was disclosed by the legal counsel of Rick Bright that, a government watchdog has found a “substantial likelihood of wrongdoing” in the removal of a vaccine specialist from leading a federal agency handling coronavirus response.
The initial finding from the Office of the Special Counsel, currently investigating Rick Bright’s whistleblower complaint, was disclosed just as Bright began testifying before a House panel.
I believe we could have done better,” Bright said when the House Subcommittee on Health Chairwoman, Anna Eshoo asked if the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic has been a failure.
“I believe there were was critical steps that we did not take,” said Bright.
Bright insists that he was removed last month as director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority because of resisting efforts to increase access to hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug promoted by President Donald Trump as a possible treatment for Covid-19.
“There was not sufficient data at that time to support the use of this drug in patients with Covid-19 without close supervision,” he said.
Bright stated that there are safety concerns with the drug, was subsequently transferred to a job with reduced responsibility at the National Institutes of Health, a separate division of the Health and Human Services Department. He then filed a complaint with the Office of the Special Counsel about the validity of his removal.
Bright issued a bleak warning during his testimony on Thursday predicting that Covid-19 could potentially exceed in devastation the 1918 flu pandemic, which killed almost 50 million people.
In the whistleblower complaint, Bright claimed that HHS employees and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response “engaged in conduct that may constitute violations of law, rule, or regulation; gross mismanagement; a gross waste of funds; an abuse of authority; a substantial and specific danger to public health and safety; and censorship related to scientific research,” the Office of Special Counsel said to Bright, in a letter released by his lawyers on Thursday.
“We emphasize that, while OSC has found a substantial likelihood of wrongdoing based on the information you submitted in support of your allegations your referral to the Secretary for investigation is not a final determination that the allegations are substantiated,” the letter said.
The watchdog agency has maintained that the claims are still under investigation until its final report is provided to the president and Congress.