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Medical researchers

Group urges NIH to require public disclosure of medical researchers' industry connections

Wednesday, December 15, 2010 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: medical researchers, financial ties, health news

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(NaturalNews) Industry-funded investigators and researchers that are also on the payroll of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) often go unnoticed because no rule exists requiring them to make such information public. But in an effort to increase transparency, honesty, and full disclosure within the medical community, the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) is urging the NIH to include public disclosure requirements in its Final Rule on the issue.

Recent reports exposing connections between medical professionals and the drug industry have revealed that the entire medical industry is largely tainted with bias and major conflicts of interest. Examples include drug companies paying ghostwriters to forge write-ups in medical journals (http://www.naturalnews.com/029696_drug_compa...), doctors to promote drugs to their patients (http://www.naturalnews.com/030111_drug_compa...), and medical researchers to influence study findings (http://www.naturalnews.com/028491_medical_re...).

NaturalNews covered POGO's efforts back in March to get the attention of NIH Director Francis Collins concerning the fact that its researchers were secretly on drug company payrolls. Collins agreed with POGO's proposal that such industry connections need to be disclosed publicly, but nothing much has happened since that time to address the problem.

In a more recent letter to Collins, POGO is again urging Collins and the NIH to require that medical researchers' connections with the drug industry be publicly disclosed on searchable databases that can be easily accessed by the public. The group is also requesting that if medical researchers lie about such connections, that they be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Since Collins has already verbally expressed support for the proposal -- and even submitted comments to the New England Journal of Medicine that helped further spark public interest in the idea -- it is now only a matter of prodding him and the agency to actually make it happen.

You can express support for requiring full, public disclosure of NIH medical researchers' industry connections by writing to:
Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD
Director
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, Maryland 20892

You can also email Collins directly at:
Francis.Collins@nih.hhs.gov

Sources for this story include:

http://www.pogo.org/pogo-files/letters/publi...
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