Anger, uncertainty, and confusion followed in the wake of the unprecedented suspension of research March 26 at the Veterans Administration Greater Los Angeles Health Care System (VAGLAHS), the largest center of its kind in the country.

"Everything has come to a screeching halt," said VAGLAHS spokeswoman Marianne Davis, who estimated some 1,200 protocols and hundreds of researchers were stopped in their tracks. The order--which applies to the five Los Angeles-area facilities and seven outpatient clinics that had recently been merged to create VAGLAHS--came by way of a two-page letter signed by Kenneth W. Kizer, Veterans Administration (VA) undersecretary for health. The letter did not mention any specific incidents, nor offer any evidence that research practices had harmed any people or animals. Rather, it cited "management's unresponsiveness," as well as an overall failure to meet federal guidelines as the reasons for the suspension, dubbing the action a "preemptive" measure...

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