Conflicts of interest at the NIH

December 8th, 2003

To the Editor,

The problems of conflicts of interest are rife throughout our government. We appear to have created a revolving door of employees coming from/going to positions in major industries, who are in a position to dictate the basis for the legislation of life and death matters for our citizens. Collecting dual incomes during one’s tenure of employment brings this problem to new heights of legalized corruption. The problem goes much farther than just insisting employees reveal outside income which has the appearance of such conflicts. We even have an official agency (Office of Budget and Management) to review independent scientific findings, clear of conflicts, to ensure concerns with the safety of the public won’t be too “costly” for industry to bear. The results have rolled back huge numbers of environmental initiatives already passed to the satisfaction of voters openly or secretly in executive orders and riders to bills in Congress.

In the “profession” of prostitution, not only the “whores” are arrested but also the “johns” who hire them for the performance of illegal acts. When will our country’s “biostitutes”, as scientists are called when they color their research findings for profits or simply to curry political favor from “higher ups”, be joined in criminal prosecution by the “seducing” industries that corrupted them?

In the meantime, I suggest all NIH memos and documents produced by their staff contain the same declaration of competing interests that some journals require before publishing scientific findings.

Barbara Rubin, New York City
Freelance writer/former educator
disabled by pesticide poisoning

Competing Interests Declared:
Interest in Survival

Categories: Published

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