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New NIH Ethics Rules Causing Some to Consider Leaving

Not surprised to learn, shortly after former Commissioner Lester Crawford's conviction for various conflicts of interest while serving at the FDA, 39 percent of the hands-on researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are looking for new jobs or considering a move elsewhere.

Why? New ethics rules enacted last year by the agency that curtail a staff scientist's ability to accept consulting fees or income from drug companies and other groups that may influence him or her, after reports of NIH employees profiting from private consulting contracts.

Although the numbers decrease to 18 percent when taking all NIH scientists into account, the percentages more than double among those who research diseases and cures. And, a few experts fear departures by some key senior scientists may hobble the agency's research for quite some time.

All that said, some 75 percent of all NIH employees polled believe the new rules improve the credibility of the agency among the public, perhaps a sign that more Americans are paying closer attention to their health than ever before and rightly questioning the conventional advice "so-called" medical experts dispense regularly that do more to line their own pockets than treat the root causes of disease.

USA Today October 30, 2006

Kaiser Network.org October 30, 2006

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