Saturday, September 17, 2005

Ex-NCI Director Quits Leadership Role in Gates Foundation

We recently posted about reports that former Director of the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) Richard Klausner was involved in awarding a multi-million dollar contract to Harvard University while he was a candidate for a position at the University.
Soon after these reports were printed, Klausner announced he was resigning from his current position, Director of Global Health for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (See the Seattle Times story here.) Klausner and a foundation official denied the resignation was related to the allegations made about Klausner. Joe Cerrell, Director of Global Health Advocacy for the Foundation, said "this is an unfortunate coincidence of timing. The decision has been in the process for some time now. While he [Klausner] is a brilliant scientist and visionary, Rick and the president decided the program was at a point where it could benefit from a new vision."
Meanwhile, according to the Washington Post, the House Energy and Commerce Committee has asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate Klausner. The post article notes that this could "lead to a painful new chapter for the health agency [NIH], which just finished rewriting its rules on employee conflict of interest after a series of difficult congressional hearings. While the recent policy changes were implemented to minimize employee financial conflicts, the new questions relate to thow the agency procures scientific goods and services through contracts."
The new questions also appear to relate to the revolving doors between the NIH, universities, and private foundations. Stay tuned.

No comments: