Dr. Rick Bright, the vaccine expert who claims he was ousted from his former position in the administration because of his opposition to the promotion of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for coronavirus, was already going to lose his job months before, according to information released on Twitter by Politico reporter Dan Diamond.
Diamond commented in Twitter on January 2 — long before most Americans had heard of the coronavirus outbreak in China — that Dr. Bright, who was head of Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) until recently,  had supervised Anand Shah, who was leaving the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Shah had worked for CMS Administrator Seema Verma.
Shah, a practicing radiation oncologist, trained under Hahn at Penn and has helped with his transition.
At CMS, Shah worked on the innovation portfolio, including an initiative to fight antimicrobial resistance with @BARDA director Rick Bright. pic.twitter.com/VEgxB9zxYn
— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) January 2, 2020
In response, Diamond revealed a text message Wednesday, which he received Jan. 2, about Bright’s imminent removal from BARDA for “incompetence and insubordination.” That was months before hydroxychloroquine became a topic of debate.
The Trump administration has been working to oust Bright since last year, as officials battled with him over his management and leadership.
With permission, sharing this time-stamped text from individual with knowledge of those fights. pic.twitter.com/ExYILm1pQI
— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) April 22, 2020
Diamond later reported that in internal emails, Dr. Bright had praised the administration’s acquisition of the drug:
UPDATE: Rick Bright, vaccine expert who said he was ousted for opposing Trumps drive to acquire malaria drugs, recently praised the acquisition in internal emails. https://t.co/SbuWK6MmSCpic.twitter.com/OHSl0Y4pSG
— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) April 22, 2020
Freelance journalist Jeryl Bier provided a letter from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) referring to a request from Dr. Bright for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for hydroxychloroquine and related compounds for treatment:
In March, Rick Bright requested the FDA issue an “Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for emergency use of oral formulations of chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine sulfate for the treatment of 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19)…” https://t.co/ZKZJB17v32pic.twitter.com/uFB6Ymkq1k
— jerylbier (@JerylBier) April 23, 2020
Dr. Bright has portrayed himself as a victim of retaliation for his opposition to the widespread use of hydroxychloroquine. He was reassigned from BARDA to a job at the National Institutes of Health, and apparently has not yet reported to his post. He has retained the same attorneys who spearheaded Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations against Brett Kavanaugh in 2018.
NBC News reported Thursday that Dr. Bright felt pressured to rush hydroxychloroquine into use after President Donald Trump spoke to Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison, a wealthy supporter of his who also sits on the economic re-opening council.
Democrats plan to call Dr. Bright to testify before House committees, and want the Department of Health and Human Services inspector general to investigate Dr. Bright’s departure and his claims about the politicization of the agency.
President Trump has suggested compassionate use of hydroxychloroquine, combined with azithromycin and zinc — a treatment for which there is anecdotal evidence, though there is not yet clinical conformation of its effectiveness.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.