The National Institutes of Health (NIH) yesterday (February 1) announced a series of "sweeping" new ethics reforms that bar all NIH employees from consulting with or accepting payments from pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device companies as well as from universities, hospitals, and research institutes that receive NIH funds.

Intramural scientists would be permitted to maintain part-time clinical and medical practices for private patients and, under certain circumstances, to lecture and teach at universities, publish in peer-reviewed journals, and write and edit articles and textbooks as long as industry funding does not influence the content.

The new rules require most intramural scientists, all senior officials, and those having contracting and grant-making authority to divest of all stock in drug and biotech companies. Other NIH employees are limited to no more than $15,000 in stock in any one biotech or drug company.

"My goal here is to create a 'bright line' that...

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