BETHESDA, MD—Senior officials at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as well as staff members responsible for grants and funding decisions should not be allowed to consult for pharmaceutical, biotech, or other companies “under any circumstances,” according to the long-awaited recommendations made by the NIH's “blue ribbon” panel on conflict-of-interest policies yesterday.

But most NIH intramural researchers would be allowed—and even encouraged—to participate in teaching, speaking, and other paid outside activities as long as they spent fewer than 400 hours a year of their own time doing so. Their compensation must not exceed 50% of their annual base salary, and no one source could account for more than 25% of their pay.

Payments in the form of stocks, stock options, or other equity would no longer be permitted. But no limit would be placed on the amount of money a qualified NIH employee could receive from awards, royalties from inventions,...

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