The NIH is considering a change in its long-standing rules for dealing with conflicts of interest among its grantees and has solicited public comments on the possible change in the rules. The document below was submitted by POGO in response to the NIH’s solicitation.
Public Submission Title: Comment from Ned Feder, M.D., Staff Scientist, Project On Government Oversight
Date Submitted: July 9, 2009, by fax, to Jerry Moore, NIH Regulations Officer
Those considering the amendment of regulations covered by NIH‑2008‑0002 should examine the passage below. It comes from a Letter to the Editor, "Public disclosure could deter conflicts of interest," published in Nature four years ago, before Senator Grassley discovered shocking financial conflicts of interest among NIH grantees.
The NIH should require grantees to make public disclosures of their paid arrangements with pharmaceutical, investment and other companies, as well as their ownership of stock and stock options, as a condition of having their medical research funded by the government. The private finances of any US senator or representative can be checked in an instant through links at www.opensecrets.org/pfds. Why not create, by law, a similar system for medical researchers who receive government funding? [Nature, vol. 437, page 620, Sept. 29, 2005]
The NIH has not supported this kind of full public disclosure in the past, but it should do so now.
Ned Feder, M.D.
Project On Government Oversight
1100 G Street, NW, Suite 900
Washington, DC 20005
Follow the link to view the pdf of the Nature article in the comment submitted.