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Sex, drugs, and NIH

Grant controversy escalates, with charges of misconduct and 'scientific McCarthyism' exchanged

Ted Agres(tedagres@lycos.com)

Within the next 2 weeks, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) hopes to convince Congress of the public health relevance of some 200 research project grants dealing with human sexual behavior and drug use. A conservative advocacy group assembled the list of grants, amounting to some $100 million, and complained that the projects were prurient, wasteful, and lacking in scientific merit. But at least one NIH defender contends that a Bush administration attempt to inject ideology into science is really behind the list.

Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), a leading administration critic, last week said the Bush administration used "insiders" within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which oversees NIH, to help assemble a "hit list" of ideologically objectionable grants. Waxman accused the White House of "scientific McCarthyism" and of "imposing ideological shackles" on vital public health research. An HHS spokesman denied that any of its employees were...

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