Conflict probe expands to FDA

Internal review ordered as congressional panel continues inquiry into NIH

Ted Agres(tedagres@lycos.com)
May 18, 2004

WASHINGTON, DC—The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will conduct a “comprehensive review” of all outside consulting agreements its employees have with pharmaceutical and biotech companies to make sure the arrangements are legal, acting FDA commissioner Lester M. Crawford announced yesterday (May 18).

The FDA's action comes on the heels of Congressional investigations into the awarding of millions of dollars in consulting fees and awards to scientists and officials at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Also yesterday, NIH officials said that NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni has decided to require all NIH employees to disclose the amount of compensation they receive from outside consulting “as a condition of their employment” with the agency. Current ethics rules do not require employees to submit this information, and Zerhouni risks litigation from employees who might not wish to comply, the officials said.

Members of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations yesterday questioned...

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