Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

But It Sounds Like Something's Changing

DrugMonkey doesn't think much of the new NIH rules to address financial conflict of interest among researchers. In fact, he says, the tighter rules "will do absolutely nothing about real COI." For one thing, DrugMonkey says, lowering the reporting threshold from $10,000 to $5,000 won't do anything about the PIs who caused scandal and were investigated by Congress for making hundreds of thousands of dollars from big pharma without reporting it. If they didn't report at $10,000, asking them to report at $5,000 won't do much, DrugMonkey says. "Note that this level of outside cashola is well over the previous requirement for institutions to manage the conflict and note further that those previous requirements failed spectacularly," he adds. "Changing the threshold does jack squat." The problem, he continues, is enforcing the rules, something NIH isn't very good at. Instead, he says, the agency is trying to look busy while not doing very much to address the real problem. Furthermore, leaving the responsibility for managing conflict to institutions is also bunk, he says, since they already tend to turn a blind eye to conflicts of interest to avoid having their NIH funding cut. "C'mon NIH. Try again on this one," he says.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.