Rick Arthur Bright (born June 7, 1966) is an American immunologist and public health official. Bright is the former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, leading the authority from 2016 to 2020. In May 2020, he filed a whistleblower complaint, alleging that his early warnings about the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic were ignored and that he was moved to a new position and ousted from his role in retaliation.
- 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. I am speaking out because to combat this deadly virus, science – not politics or cronyism – has to lead the way.
Testimony before Congress (May 14, 2020)
Testimony before Congress, CNN (May 14, 2020)
- Our window of opportunity is closing. If we fail to improve our response now, based on science, I fear the pandemic will get far worse and be prolonged. There will be likely a resurgence of Covid-19 this fall that will be greatly compounded by the challenges of seasonal influenza. Without better planning, 2020 could be the darkest winter in modern history.
- We need to be truthful with the American people. Americans deserve the truth. The truth must be based on science. We have the world's greatest scientists. Let us lead. Let us speak without fear of retribution. We must listen. Each of us can and must do our part now.
- I believe with proper leadership and collaboration across government, with the best science leading the way, we can devise a comprehensive strategy, we can devise a plan that includes all Americans and help them help us guide us through this pandemic. The window is closing to address this pandemic because we still do not have a standard centralized coordinated plan to take this nation through this response.
- There's no one company that can produce enough for our country or for the world. We need to have a strategy and plan in place now to make sure that we can not only fill that vaccine, make it, distribute it, administer it in a fair and equitable plan. We don't have that yet and it is a significant concern.
- Rep. Butterfield: How could we be struggling to get adequate supplies of simple supplies like swabs? What does this say about the federal response to the coronavirus outbreak?
Bright: It says to me, sir, that there is no master coordinated plan on how to respond to this outbreak.
- Lives were endangered, and I believe lives were lost. Not only that, we were forced to procure the supplies from other countries without the right quality standards, so even our doctors and nurses in the hospitals today are wearing N95-marked masks from other countries that are not providing the sufficient protection that a US-standard N95 mask would provide them.
- We need to unleash the voices of the scientists in our public health system in the United States so they can be heard and their guidances need to be listened to.
Quotes about Bright
- Last month, infectious disease expert/HHS official Dr. Rick Bright was demoted because of his outspoken early in the year warning about the risk of spreading COVID-19 outbreaks, unpreparedness to contain them, and dangers of using untested drugs like hydroxychloroquine to treat infected patients. He slammed what he called “cronyism over science,” pressure by former Eli Lilly executive/HHS secretary Alex Azar and other department officials to direct millions of dollars in contracts to Trump regime favorites.
- By formal whistleblower complaint to the Office of Special Council, his attorney said the following:
He “encountered indifference which then developed into hostility from HHS leadership, including secretary Azar, as (he) and his (Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) staff raised concerns about the virus and the urgent need to act.”
The complaint followed unacceptable Trump regime public health actions and his reassignment to a lower-level National Institutes of Health position. Throughout Trump’s tenure, Bright was pressured to award regime contracts to companies represented by lobbyists with DLT and Jared Kushner connections. His opposition to crony capitalism and Trump’s mishandled COVID-19 response led to his demotion in retaliation for speaking out.
The official whistleblower complaint filed on his behalf by attorney Debra Katz highlights the dismissiveness of top HHS officials toward the need to prepare for coronavirus outbreaks in the US, his opposition to using untested drugs sold by Trump regime cronies, and his demotion for sounding the alarm.
- Republican lawmakers on the panel for the most part were careful not to attack Bright directly. But Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., slammed Bright for continuing to collect his $285,000 salary while first on sick leave for a spike in blood pressure, and now on vacation as he tries to straighten out his work situation. “You’re too sick to go into work, but you’re well enough to come here while getting paid,” said Mullin. “I have a hard time understanding that.”