Grassley Targets NIMH Funding Of Academics
Thursday January 21st, 2010
Ed Silverman

In his ongoing probe of conflicts of interest involving academic researchers, US Senator Chuck Grassley is now asking the National Institutes of Mental Health director Tom Insel to provide phone records, email and calendar since early 2009, along with correspondence from NIMH staffers in response to Grassley’s investigations (here is the letter sent by Grassley).


For the past two years, Grassley has pursued conflicts in which academic researchers accept funding from the NIH and industry, and instances where their universities have failed to monitor or report payments. According to current NIH regulations, payments above $10,000 should be reported. In his Jan. 20 letter, Grassley cites several examples…


The psychiatry chair at Emory University, Charles Nemeroff, failed to report hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments from a drugmaker researching the company’s drugs with an NIH grant, according to Grassley (see here). The Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (HHS OIG) is now investigating the matter.


UPDATE ON JAN. 25: Insel responds on his NIMH blog (see here).


The Stanford University psychiatry chair, Alan Schatzberg, received an NIH grant to study a drug, while partially owning a company that was seeking FDA approval of the drug; he was later removed from the grant (see here). And three Harvard University psychiatrists failed to report almost a million dollars each in outside income while heading up several NIH grants (some background here). Harvard plans to release a report on the matter, according to Grassley.

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