I recently recapped fears that "get tough" moves at NIH, FDA and DHHS/DOJ regarding conflicts of interest were all being retracted or watered down. I then described some pushback on the FDA front, but according to our friend Dr. Bernard Carroll writing for Health Care Renewal:http://hcrenewal.blogspot.com/2011/08/quis-custodiet-ipsos-custodes-redux.html, the announcement from NIH earlier today on their new COI rules leaves considerable disappointment.
Dr. Carroll notes two major issues. One, that I summarized in my earlier post--http://brodyhooked.blogspot.com/2011/08/integrity-in-government-forget-about-it.html--is that universities are no longer required to post information about investigators' conflicts of interest in an easily accessible public website. (If you want you can write the university a letter and they are supposed to reply within 5 days.) The second is that the loophole that allows a conflicted investigator who was sanctioned at one institution simply to jump ship to another bottom-feeder university and start applying for NIH grants again right away, remains more or less wide open.