, CEO AND FOUNDER, OPENTHEBOOKS.COM
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has received more scrutiny of its activities over the past two years than perhaps ever before. Yet its leadership consistently fails or refuses to answer the call for transparency. This time, NIH leadership is fighting to keep secret hundreds of millions of dollars in private royalty payments pocketed by the agency and its bench of scientists. Americans deserve some sunlight on what appears to be a potentially enormous conflict of interest.
The NIH distributes roughly $32 billion in research grants to 56,000 recipients in the medical community each year. Those taxpayer dollars lend quite a bit of clout. But there's money traveling in the other direction, too, when NIH-backed work is utilized by private companies. We know precious little about it, but over just five sample years, it amounted to a whopping $134 million, spread over 22,000 payments to nearly 1,700 scientists. Each and every one is a potential conflict of interest.
To recap, the NIH used public dollars to dole out grants, received nine figures' worth of private royalties for the results of the taxpayer-funded research and then used more taxpayer dollars to fight key disclosures in court.
And there's a lot more. Read the full article here.
Adam Andrzejewski is the CEO and founder of OpenTheBooks.com, the largest private database of U.S. public-sector expenditures.
The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.