The National Institutes of Health (NIH), stung by recent allegations of financial wrongdoing on the part of some present and former senior officials, plans to announce today (December 10) a major review of how the agency handles conflict-of-interest matters when top agency employees receive lucrative consulting contracts from private companies.

NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni will announce the creation of a “blue ribbon panel” of advisory committee members and outside experts “to review how NIH addresses outside consulting activity in order to identify systemic solutions for improvement,” NIH spokesman John Burklow told The Scientist.

Zerhouni will also order an “immediate review” of every outside consulting relationship that NIH employees have established during the past 5 years “to confirm that all rules and regulations are being followed and that the activities are in the best interest of the public,” Burklow said.

“It is clear that we will need to consider...

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