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The challenge for NIH ethics policies: Preserving public trust and biomedical progress

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ABSTRACT

Recently updated ethics rules for employees of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) aim to prevent inappropriate influences on research decisions while preserving employees' professional and scientific interactions. Specific provisions require NIH employees to report their financial holdings in "substantially affected organizations" and require senior employees to divest all holdings greater than $15,000 in any single such organization. Outside institutions that receive NIH grants are bound by separate disclosure requirements. Public-private partnerships have become more important to NIH efforts to advance biomedical research in light of flat NIH budgets in recent years. Such partnerships open the door, however, to financial conflicts that must be prevented or managed in order to maintain scientific integrity and public trust.


 

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