Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Seeking to Avoid Past Abuses, NIH Ethics Policy Now Prohibits All Staffers from Working for Industry

NEW YORK, Feb. 2 (GenomeWeb News) - The National Institutes of Health has created a new ethics regulation that will prohibit NIH employees from working with pharmaceutical and biological companies, and research institutions, including NIH grantees.


A previous regulation only prohibited such relationships to upper-level employees. The ban has now been extended to all NIH staff.


Investments in companies that are significantly affected by the organization will also now be prohibited for employees that file financial disclosure forms, and will be restricted for other staff, under the new regulations. Non-filers' stock holdings in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies will now be capped at $15,000.


According to a statement from the NIH, the new ethics rules will take effect once they are published in the Federal Register -- most likely in the next few days -- and will remain in effect indefinitely. Still, they will be subject to revision by the US Department of Health and Human Services, which will solicit public comment on the new regulation during a 60-day period following its publication in the Register.


The NIH specifically stated that the new regulations were a direct result of the activities of some employees who had been engaged in outside consulting with biotech and pharmaceutical companies. Reports in the media last year, such as those chronicled in ProteoMonitor, a GenomeWeb News publication, that showed NIH employees receiving money from the very firms they are in a position to benefit led to congressional hearings, as well as the recent tightening of the ethics rules.


NIH Director Elias Zerhouni said in a statement that the revised ethics regulations would "prevent the recurrence of past abuses and will go along way in preserving the historic role of NIH as the primary source of unbiased scientific health information for the country."

The Scan

Study Tracks Off-Target Gene Edits Linked to Epigenetic Features

Using machine learning, researchers characterize in BMC Genomics the potential off-target effects of 19 computed or experimentally determined epigenetic features during CRISPR-Cas9 editing.

Coronary Artery Disease Risk Loci, Candidate Genes Identified in GWAS Meta-Analysis

A GWAS in Nature Genetics of nearly 1.4 million coronary artery disease cases and controls focused in on more than 200 candidate causal genes, including the cell motility-related myosin gene MYO9B.

Multiple Sclerosis Contributors Found in Proteome-Wide Association Study

With a combination of genome-wide association and brain proteome data, researchers in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology tracked down dozens of potential multiple sclerosis risk proteins.

Quality Improvement Study Compares Molecular Tumor Boards, Central Consensus Recommendations

With 50 simulated cancer cases, researchers in JAMA Network Open compared molecular tumor board recommendations with central consensus plans at a dozen centers in Japan.