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Allegations of Continued Retaliation

In an update to his whistleblower complaint, the former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, Rick Bright, alleges that Alex Azar, the Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services, continues to retaliate against him, CBS News reports.

Bright left BARDA, which he had led for about four years, in late April. He filed a whistleblower complaint that alleged he was demoted because he pushed for stringent testing of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, drugs President Donald Trump touted as COVID-19 treatments. The US Food and Drug Administration last week revoked the Emergency Use Authorization it had issued for those drugs, as it determined they were unlikely to be effective COVID-19 treatments. Bright was transferred to a smaller role at the National Institutes of Health, and a federal watchdog group has recommended his reinstatement at BARDA, though the recommendation is not binding.

In his updated complaint, Bright alleges that he has been "deliberately impeded" in his new role at NIH, the Hill reports. According to CBS News, the update claims that Gary Disbrow, who took over Bright's BARDA role in an acting capacity, told an employee that Azar said "if anyone were to help Dr. Bright be successful, 'there would be hell to pay.'" The complaint further alleges that Bright's role at NIH has become more and more limited.

Disbrow in a statement to CBS News denies Bright's claims.