Statement of CSPI president Dr. Peter Lurie
President Trump is reportedly likely to nominate Robert Redfield of the University of Maryland to be director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This appointment would be disastrous for at least three reasons. First, he has no experience running a public health agency, and does not have the all-important relationships with state and local public health officials such experience would bring. Second, based on work I conducted with Sidney Wolfe at Public Citizen in the mid-1990s, he has been credibly accused of scientific misconduct for exaggerating the benefits of a putative HIV vaccine, for which he was investigated by the military. Third, he has supported a variety of policies related to HIV/AIDS that are anathema to the great majority of public health professionals: mandatory HIV testing, reporting of positive HIV results to public health authorities without the patient’s consent, and quarantining of HIV-positive individuals in the military.
What one wants in a director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a scientist of impeccable scientific integrity. What one would get in Robert Redfield is a sloppy scientist with a long history of scientific misconduct and an extreme religious agenda. We urge the administration not to appoint Dr. Redfield.
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