Grassley pushes universities for transparency
Officials at academic research institutions are the latest group to feel pressure from Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who is looking to shed light on drug companies' financial ties to researchers. The ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee sent letters to leaders of almost two dozen universities asking them to examine their conflict of interest and financial disclosure policies. Grassley says he is concerned that drug company funding can influence scientific studies and that university faculty do not always report their outside income. Grassley previously prodded NIH director Elias Zerhouni to review his agency's oversight of outside grant recipients' conflicts of interest (1"The Pink Sheet," June 30, 2008, In Brief)
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New attention to a simmering scandal has increased scrutiny of NIH's effort to tighten up its existing conflict of interest policy and on a loophole the agency must be sure to eliminate
Charles Nemeroff is stepping down as chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University School of Medicine because of failure to report outside income from drug companies. An investigation by Emory found that during 2000-2005, Nemeroff failed to report more than $800,000 in income from GSK for more than 250 speaking engagements. Nemeroff says he believed his presentations to be educational lectures not subject to the school's disclosure requirements. The investigation, which focused on the GSK payments because the firm was the largest single payer to Nemeroff, has found no evidence the payments affected his care for clinical trial participants or biased his research. Nevertheless, Nemeroff, who will continue to teach at Emory, will be subject to new restrictions on his outside activities. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, brought attention to Nemeroff's activities as part of his campaign to shed light on drug companies' financial ties to doctors and researchers (1"The Pink Sheet," Sept. 22, 2008, In Brief)
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