Bureaucracy, Implications, Money

Financial conflicts of interest rules to be amended (BioTechniques Weekly)


Andrew S. Wiecek

The National Institutes of Health is seeking public comments as it considers amending regulations regarding financial conflicts of interest.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is planning to amend regulations on the reporting of financial conflicts of interest in the research that it supports.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking public comment on whether the HHS should amend its regulations on the responsibility of applicants for promoting objectivity.

The NIH is particularly interested in comments on specific issues including:

• Is a $10,000 payment considered to be a significant financial conflict of interest? Should that limit be changed?

• Should institutions establish an independent committee to review financial disclosures?

• Should investigators be required to complete routine financial conflict of interest training?

Comments can be submitted at www.regulations.gov by July 7, 2009.

Senator Charles E. Grassley (R-IA) has previously criticized the NIH’s enforcement of financial conflicts of interest. A 2008 report by the HHS Office of the Inspector General stated that the NIH lacked oversight of conflict of interests at grant-receiving institutions.

Following the Senator’s criticism, the NIH created a web-based tutorial to remind grant recipients of their responsibility to report financial conflicts of interest. Also, the NIH has piloted a program that allows institutions to electronically submit conflicts of interest reports..

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