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On Heels of Zerhouni s Balm, FASEB Calls NIH Ethics Rules Overly Restrictive

NEW YORK, March 29 (GenomeWeb News) - The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology today said that the conflict-of-interest regulation recently released by the National Institutes of Health is "overly restrictive."


FASEB made its comments in a letter to the Office of General Counsel at the US Department of Health and Human Services a few days after NIH director Elias Zerhouni issued a letter of his own trying to reassure industrial partners that the NIH will continue to work with them in light of the new guidelines.


While FASEB "support[s] efforts to preserve the integrity of science," FASEB president Paul Kincade writes in the letter, it also expresses concern that "much of the interim final rule is overly restrictive. FASEB's letter can be seen here.


"The provisions limit, without corresponding gain in protection from conflicts of interest, the ability of NIH scientists to engage in critically important teaching and scholarly activity," the letter reads.


FASEB further outlines in the letter several areas in which it feels the NIH guidelines are too restrictive and areas that it feels modifications could be made. These areas include: to whom the guidelines apply; prohibition of specific outside activities, such as service to scientific professional societies; the approval process for outside activities; and awards to NIH employees.


The new conflict-of-interest rules were released Feb. 1, and can be seen here.

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