May 06,2019

Grassley to NIH: Take Red Flags in Clinical Trials Seriously

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa today released the following statement regarding a disturbing incident detailed by the Wall Street Journal in which the National Institutes of Health (NIH) initially prohibited two of its doctors from speaking with government officials regarding an ongoing investigation. When Grassley read the reports, he immediately contacted NIH with concerns.

According to reporting by the Wall Street Journal, government investigators are asking questions about a clinical trial of new blood-infection treatments. When the investigators attempted to speak with two doctors working on the trial, they were refused by NIH.

“Transparency is critical to good government and necessary to prevent waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars. I’m deeply concerned about the initial attempts to silence these doctors by the National Institutes of Health,” Grassley said.

“Secrecy is the enemy of good government. If there are any indications that patients participating in a taxpayer-funded clinical trial may be injured or harmed, those concerns must be brought to the forefront and addressed. I urge Director Francis Collins and his agency to take these and any similar red flags seriously at the first step to ensure the safety of patients and the integrity of the trial.

“I’m glad they’ve reversed their decision. Trying to block folks from willingly cooperating with a legitimate investigation has a clear chilling effect and will only discourage whistleblowers.”