A top Health and Human Services official who said he was transferred from his post for pushing back on “efforts to fund potentially dangerous drugs promoted by those with political connections” felt pressured to rush access to chloroquine treatments for coronavirus after President Donald Trump had a conversation about it with a mega-rich donor, a source close to the doctor told NBC News.
Dr. Rick Bright said he was instructed to implement a national program aimed at expanding access to the drug without proper controls in place and despite the lack of peer-reviewed clinical data on the drug's effectiveness following a conversation Trump had with Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison, the source said.
Ellison sits on the White House economic recovery task force and is one of the president’s top supporters in the tech industry. The billionaire also hosted a big-money fundraiser for Trump at his home in Rancho Mirage, Calif., in February. The New York Times reported on April 6 that “Mr. Trump first expressed interest in hydroxychloroquine a few weeks ago, telling associates that Mr. Ellison, a billionaire and a founder of Oracle, had discussed it with him.”
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The president repeatedly touted the drug as a potential "game changer" in the battle against the coronavirus.
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