Ethics rules may hurt NIH staffing

Survey reveals undercurrent of discontent, fueling questions about the future of NIH

Karen Pallarito
Oct 30, 2006
More than ninety percent of tenured and tenure-track scientists at the National Institutes of Health feel the ethics rules issued last year are too restrictive and will negatively impact the institution's ability to recruit the best staff, a new survey finds.In fact, nearly 40 percent of these scientists indicated they are actively looking for a job outside of the NIH or considering such a move because of the new restrictions. "I think what this says is, in fact, there are problems, and these rules are a source of the problem," said Ezekiel Emanuel, chair of the department of clinical bioethics at the NIH's Warren G. Magnuson Clinical Center and a member of the executive committee of the Assembly of Scientists, a group of NIH intramural researchers who have previously criticized the rules as being overly restrictive. The 2005 reforms prohibit all NIH employees from conducting any outside consulting with pharmaceutical,...