Senator Edward J. Markey (D–Mass) recently called on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) office of the inspector general to open an investigation into allegations that the Trump administration removed Rick Bright, PhD, as director of the HHS Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), and as deputy assistant secretary for preparedness and response, because he questioned and resisted President Trump’s promotion of the drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine as treatments for covid-19.

HHS earlier announced that Bright, who served as BARDA’s director since 2016, was being reassigned to a lower-level position at the National Institutes of Health.

“Dr. Bright’s abrupt reassignment raises serious questions whether the Trump administration retaliated against him for advocating for science and against Trump’s misinformation,” says Markey. “Our government’s response to the coronavirus crisis must be based on science and data, especially when it comes to recommendations of treatments during a pandemic.

“Listening to and relying on our public health, medical, and scientific experts is more critical than it has ever been,” Markey adds. “If Donald Trump doesn’t like scientific evidence because it doesn’t support his view of the world or financial interests, he cannot be permitted to simply silence the scientists.

“I urge you to investigate Dr. Bright’s allegations. As the nation battles the coronavirus pandemic, science, not politics, must be our lodestar.”

Featured image: Senator Edward J. Markey (D–Mass).