According to the lawyer for the scientist, the U.S. government agreed to pay compensation to him. The whistleblower complained that former President Donald Trump’s administration had failed to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
Debra Katz, Debra Katz’s lawyer, said that Dr. Rick Bright, who was formerly with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reached a settlement.
According to Katz, the settlement will resolve Bright’s “allegations against HHS that he retaliated against his whistleblower about the Trump Administration’s inept and irresponsible response the coronavirus pandemic.”
Katz stated that Dr. Bright was compensated to the maximum extent permitted by law and will receive back pay as well as compensatory damages.
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is an independent government agency that handles whistleblower complaints. It stated in a statement that they helped to facilitate a mutually agreeable resolution.
HHS did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
Bright was removed as director of Biomedical Advanced Research & Development Authority (or BARDA) in April 2020. This is the HHS part responsible for developing drugs against the coronavirus.
Bright claimed he was demoted and removed because he raised concerns regarding pandemic preparedness.
HHS has refuted Bright’s account. They claim that Bright was transferred to a job last year where he was given the responsibility to spend approximately $1 billion on diagnostic testing.
Bright testified in May 2020 at a congressional hearing that he would never forget an e-mail from the U.S. supplier medical-grade masks in January 2020 warning him of a severe shortage.
He said, “We are in deep shit. The world is. Bright stated to lawmakers that we must act. “And I tried to push that forward to HHS at the highest level, but got no response.”
Bright claimed that he was expelled from BARDA partly because he refused to promote hydroxychloroquine, a drug which could cure COVID-19. This was something Trump advocated.