Monday, April 11, 2005

"Climate of Alarm Described at NIH"

And here is yet another story about problems at the NIH, this time allegations about intimidation of whistle-blowers. The Associated Press obtained testimony charging that NIH officials squelched safety concerns tin the rush to try "to cure AIDS." For example,
  • "It can be fairly uncomfortable. There are a number of things that you just don't talk about. You don't hold up any projects even if you feel there are safety issues for certain projects." (Testimony by Betsy Smith, NIAID)
  • "I think we [safety officials] got in the way and that we were an impediment to the science." Division managers were "totally unsupportive" of safety and were responding to "tremendous pressure" from drug companies. "I think the culture was certainly strong for a period of time that the ends could justify the means." (Testimony by Mary Anne Luzar, Ph.D., Chief Regulatory Affairs Section, Pharmaceutical and Regulatory Affairs Branch, DAIDS)
Yet more clean up work is ahead for Director Zernouni. But this provides yet more justification for his argument that widespread changes are needed.

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