New Ethics Rules For Scientists Coming

Questions about whether federal scientists should also be paid consultants for pharmaceutical companies have extended to scientists in universities and medical centers who receive federal research funds. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) has asked the National Institutes of Health if it knows how many of the scientists who receive federal funds have such potentially conflicting arrangements. The worry is that some scientists could wind up having a bias, however unwitting. As an example: A researcher who gets federal funds for conducting a clinical trial of a drug also may consult for the company that makes the drug. The NIH relies on universities to police their scientists for conflicts, according to Norka Ruiz Bravo, NIH deputy director for extramural research. The NIH is scheduled to announce new ethics regulations today.

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