NIH Releases Updated Conflict-of-Interest Rules for Researchers
On Tuesday, NIHÂ released updated conflict-of-interest rules for its researchers, reducing the amount of money they can receive from drugmakers or medical device companies that constitutes a conflict, National Journal reports.
The rule finalizes proposed changes released in May 2010 to regulations that have not been changed since 1995 (Fox, National Journal, 8/23). The rules will go into effect in August 2012 (Robeznieks, Modern Healthcare, 8/23).
Details of Rules
The new rules aim to prevent federally funded scientists from diverting public funds for their own profit.
The regulations lower from $10,000 to $5,000 the minimum "significant" financial interest that researchers must disclose. Institutions also will be required to train staff to make sure they understand the regulations, and they will be required to report how conflicts and potential conflicts are being managed (National Journal, 8/23).
Further, universities and other institutions will be required to gather and permit public access to the disclosure information, but will not be required to post it online (Vastag, Washington Post, 8/23).
The rules also require researchers to disclose information on travel expenses; the name of the entity with which the researcher has a financial conflict; what type of conflict it is, such as consulting fees or honoraria; and the value of the interest (Modern Healthcare, 8/23).
About 2,000 organizations and as many as 38,000 scientists who participate in federally funded research will be affected by the rules (Selyukh, Reuters, 8/23).
NIH Director Francis Collins said the rules are "an insurance plan against potential trouble downstream." He emphasized that the rules will ensure that federally funded researchers can continue to partner with private companies (Washington Post, 8/23).