05/21/2010 - The National Institutes of Health proposed new guidelines Thursday to prevent financial conflicts of interest among thousands of researchers who receive federal funding, a move long sought by watchdogs of scientific research concerned about the influence of the drug industry and others.
The move, which will affect more than 40,000 researchers, comes amid rising concern about the influence of the pharmaceutical industry and other private-sector interests on scientific research. In a series of high-profile cases, federally funded researchers have received upward of millions of dollars from companies with a financial interest in the outcome of their work.
Allan Coukell, director of the Pew Prescription Project, a consumer advocacy group, said the rules were a step in the right direction, though there were some shortcomings. The rules should require researchers to report any financial interest, even those less than $5,000, he said. The rules also do not require those receiving more than $250,000 to specify the amount any further.
"From the public's point of view of trying to assess someone's financial stake, you'll have no way of knowing whether they have a $250,000 interest or a $1 million interest," Coukell said.
Read the full article, NIH Proposes New Funding Rules to Prevent Conflicts of Interest, on the Washington Post's Web site.