NIH Limits Scientists? Outside Work

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NIH Limits Scientists’ Outside Work The National Institute of Health(NIH), is an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services and is one of the world’s most well known research centers. The NIH web site states “ its mission is science in pursuit of fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to extend healthy life and reduce the burdens of illness and disability.” However, on Tuesday, allegations towards the disruption of the mission were announced to the public as a set of disclosures about NIH scientists who engaged in unethical collaborations with drugs and biotech companies. The issues being, “new ethic regulations barring all employees from moonlighting for any company or organization that could benefit from such a relationship” was posted in USA Today quoting the National Institute of Health Director Elias Zerhouni saying, “ we need at least one source of public health information in this country that can be completely trusted.” An example of these allegations is with Dr. Brewer, a NIH scientist who wrote an article describing the benefits of Crestor, a cholestoral-lowering medicine. Dr. Brewer’s NIH title was “prominently displayed’ declared the New York Times in a published medical journal, though the article itself failed to mention serious safety problems involving Crestor.
     USA Today states this ban will prohibit employees from “consulting for drug, biotech or medical device firms” and “ not allow them to own stock...consult for research institutes, health care providers, trade associations or insurers and they won’t be permitted to accept awards.” The Washington Post declares the goal is to “ ban outside company consulting for any in a position to influence grants. ‘
     Concerns that the ban will affect NIH ability to attract scientist has accrued, so lower-ranking scientists will still be allowed to consult, though they will have a limit to their activities, such as a certain number of hours a week and none taking place during federal hours.

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"NIH Limits Scientists? Outside Work." 17 Mar 2018
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Still “no NIH employee will be able to accept stock or stock options,” declares the Washington Post, based on the idea it will “increase the potential for conflict of interest.” Still some had hoped to preserve their rights, saying a ban will turn the institute into “a convent” . And while the rules under the ban appear to be stricter, president of the National Academy of Sciences said they “ are appropriate”.

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