Issue Date: April 27, 2009
NIH Urged To Address Financial Conflicts
Republican leaders on the House Energy & Commerce Committee are concerned that the $8.2 billion in stimulus money provided to NIH for extramural research funding will be spent before the agency finalizes its new rules on financial conflict of interest (FCOI). In a letter to NIH Acting Director Raynard S. Kington, Reps. Joe Barton (R-Texas), ranking member of the committee, and member Greg Walden (R-Ore.) urged NIH to quickly address the issue. "While the new funding may support research that will benefit the public health, we need to ensure that the integrity of NIH-funded research is not compromised by potential conflicts of interest on the part of the researchers," the lawmakers wrote. In response to the letter, Kington replied that "NIH has been reviewing current requirements governing FCOI ... and is developing ways of enhancing its oversight of such conflicts." The agency is also planning to accept public comments on potential changes to the FCOI regulation in the near future, he said, adding that "the introduction of bias in the conduct of NIH-supported research will not be tolerated."
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