New Rules For NIH

A powerful story featured in today's Los Angeles Times -- quickly becoming one of my all-time favorite newspapers in the world -- reports "far-reaching reforms" will be implemented by the National Institutes of Science (NIH) today, aimed at ending any questions regarding conflicts of interest. Among them:

  • All staff scientists will be banned from accepting any consulting fees or other income from drug companies, professional societies and other outside entities.
  • Employees must divest drug industry stock holdings.
  • Government employees will be allowed to accept paid outside positions as physicians at hospitals or in other clinical settings and fees in some circumstances from universities for teaching or writing and editing services.

These reforms far surpass measures once proposed by current NIH director, Dr. Elias A. Zerhouni. These rules could be altered after a year, but most officials believe the changes to be permanent.

Just in the nick of time too. The Department of Health and Human Services has opened an investigation on one NIH researcher who accepted more than $500,000 from a drug company without seeking the required permission or reporting the income to the agency from 1998-2003.

Los Angeles Times February 1, 2005

Los Angeles Times January 28, 2005

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