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Alternative NIH ethics rules

Intramural researchers suggest fewer restrictions on consulting and stock ownership

Ted Agres(tedagres@lycos.com)

Arguing that recently announced conflict of interest rules at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will "severely and irreparably compromise the NIH's mission," a group representing several thousand intramural scientists yesterday (March 9) proposed less restrictive regulations on outside consulting, editing and writing, and stock ownership.

"We're hoping rationality will take hold," said Ezekiel Emanuel, chief of clinical bioethics at NIH's Warren G. Magnuson Clinical Center and one of the architects of the proposed alternative regulations. "We're hoping to negotiate with Dr. Zerhouni and the Department of Health and Human Services. We would hope that they would realize that they have gone too far."

NIH's new ethics rules, announced last month, require most intramural scientists, all senior officials, and those having contracting and grant-making authority—as well as their family members—to divest of all stock in drug and biotech companies. Other NIH employees and their families are limited to no...

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