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Policy

NIH Urged To Address More Conflicts

by Britt E. Erickson
January 17, 2011 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 89, ISSUE 3

Institutions that receive NIH funding should be required to develop policies and procedures that address institutional financial conflicts of interest, a report from the Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of Inspector General (IG) concludes. NIH is in the midst of finalizing regulations regarding financial conflicts of extramural biomedical researchers, but no such regulations are being developed for the grantee institutions themselves. Institutional conflicts can occur “when an institution’s own financial interests (e.g., royalties, equity, stockholdings, and gifts) or those of its senior officials pose risks of undue influence on decisions involving the institution’s research,” the report says. Out of 156 grantee institutions that responded to an IG survey, only 70 have written policies and procedures to address institutional conflicts. NIH says it will take the report’s “recommendation into consideration as it considers future actions on extramural financial conflicts of interest.

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