A group that represents senior scientists and others at the National Institutes of Health is proposing less restrictive regulations concerning the ownership of stock in drug and biotech companies, and the ability to consult with universities and academic institutions.

Director Elias A. Zerhouni announced tough new ethics regulations in February. The new rules will "substantially overreach and will severely and irreparably compromise the NIH's mission," according to the Assembly of Scientists, an organization representing senior NIH intramural researchers. "These new regulations will discourage talented, innovative scientists from staying at or being recruited to the NIH, and preclude scientists already at the NIH from participating as full members of the scientific community," 18 members of the Assembly of Scientists argue in The NIH Catalyst, a newsletter circulated on the Bethesda, Md., campus.

The rules require most intramural scientists, all senior officials, and those having contracting and grant-making authority to divest...

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