January 18,2008

Grassley comment on Inspector General Report on oversight of conflicts of interest with NIH grantees

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley issued the comment below regarding the report issued today by the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services. The report examines the National Institutes of Health’s oversight of conflicts of interest in the grants it awards to outside researchers. Every year, the NIH annually distributes almost 80 percent of its $29 billion in appropriations through over 50,000 competitive grants.

In recent years, Senator Grassley has been examining conflicts of interest in medicine and science to ensure that tax dollars are spent appropriately and that federal agencies rely on peer-reviewed science that is free of bias. Here is Senator Grassley’s comment:

“Universities receive NIH dollars with the understanding that they will manage their researchers’ conflicts of interest. However, my investigations have uncovered several instances where grant-funded doctors also have taken money from pharmaceutical companies and not reported it to their institutions. Universities need to take this issue more seriously, and the NIH should monitor its grants more closely for this problem.”

The new report (National Institutes of Health: Conflicts of Interest in Extramural Research. OEI-03-06-00460; 10/08) is posted with this statement from Senator Grassley at http://finance.senate.gov.