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NIH Panel Recommends Restrictions on Employee Consulting Deals with Industry: LA Times

NEW YORK, April 9 (GenomeWeb News) -A National Institutes of Health blue ribbon panel has in a draft report called on the NIH to prohibit its employees from accepting stock or stock options from private companies, and to publicly disclose all payments to employees by drug companies, the Los Angeles Times reported today.

The draft report also recommends that the NIH bar high-ranking officials from entering into consulting deals with companies, but does not recommend that such a ban be enacted for all NIH scientists, according to the Times, which said it obtained a copy of the draft.

The body, the NIH Blue Ribbon Panel on Conflict of Interest Policies, met Monday and Tuesday at the NIH Campus in Bethesda, "to review and make recommendations for improving the existing rules and procedures under which NIH currently operates regarding real and apparent financial conflict of interest of NIH staff and requirements and policies for the reporting of NIH staff's financial interests," the NIH website states.

The report quotes NHGRI director Francis Collins as supporting these new recommendations."The credibility and integrity of the NIH are critically important. Therefore I believe that, in the future, institute and center directors should forgo arrangements involving financial compensation from pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies," Collins told the Times.

This was the third meeting of the panel, which is co-chaired by Bruce Alberts, president of the National Academy of Sciences, and Norman Augustine, chairman of Lockheed Martin. Both have declined comment to the Times until the panel could submit a final report to NIH director Elias Zerhouni.



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