Senior NIH scientist faulted

Sunderland improperly shared thousands of human tissue samples with drug company for $285,000 in consulting fees

Ted Agres
Jun 13, 2006
A top NIH official gave Pfizer thousands of samples in exchange for $285,000 in consulting fees, according to a Congressional report released yesterdayTrey Sunderland, chief of the Geriatric Psychiatry Branch of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), improperly transferred 3,200 vials of human spinal fluid and 388 tubes of plasma collected for Alzheimer?s research, the 25-page study by the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations said.Sunderland received more than $600,000 in outside consulting and speaking fees from Pfizer from 1998 to 2004 without prior government disclosure or approval. A review by NIH?s Office of Management Assessment found that Sunderland ?engaged in serious misconduct, in violation of HHS ethics rules and Federal law and regulation,? the report stated. Sunderland has not been charged with any crime and remains an NIH employee and member of the Public Health Service Corps.Obtaining the NIH tissue samples ? a...