NIH Punished Scientist Who Called for Open Records

Posted on October 24, 2008  Comments (0)

NIH Punished Scientist Who Had Called for Open Records

The National Institutes of Health and some leading universities, such as Harvard and Stanford, have suffered black eyes this year because of revelations that researchers with federal grants failed to disclose secret payments that they took from pharmaceutical companies.

The NIH was warned about the dangers of the problem years ago by one of its own scientists, Ned Feder, who wrote letters to several publications suggesting that the agency require its grantees to publicly disclose money they earn from medical companies. Instead of heeding Dr. Feder’s advice, the agency punished him

Dr. Feder went on to suggest that “the NIH could 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 agency formally reprimanded Dr. Feder for writing to Nature and identifying himself in the letter as an employee of the NIH. Dr. Feder protested the reprimand, and it was subsequently removed, without explanation.

“The NIH has shown no interest in reforming its policies unless they’re forced to do it,” said Dr. Feder, who is now staff scientist at the Project on Government Oversight.

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