Senator Chuck Grassley is asking the National Institutes of Health to explain why it has awarded a $400,000 medical research grant to a physician who it banned from NIH funding in recent years for failing to disclose a $1.2 million financial relationship with a major pharmaceutical company while leading a $9 million federal study involving that drug company’s blockbuster depression drug Paxil.
“It’s troubling that NIH continues to provide limited federal dollars to individuals who have previously had grant funding suspended for failure to disclose conflicts of interest and even more troubling that the Administration chose not to require full, open and, public disclosure of financial interests on a public website,” Grassley wrote to NIH Director Francis Collins.
...In 2008, documents revealed that [Dr. Charles B.] Nemeroff, who was then chair of Emory University’s psychiatry department, failed to disclose that he received $1.2 million in consulting fees from GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of Paxil, while leading federal research on the treatment of depression. Nemeroff left Emory University and was then hired by Miami University. The Director of the National Institute of Mental Health within NIH weighed in on Nemeroff taking this new position. While the NIH said that Nemeroff could not receive federal medical research dollars for two years, the ban has expired and, regardless, it did not apply to him in a position at a new university.
In addition, Nemeroff remains under investigation by the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services, which is working with the Department of Justice on the case. In his letter today, Grassley asked the NIH if this was considered. "There has been no final resolution by DOJ or public finding by HHS OIG related to the investigation of Dr. Nemeroff. Yet, NIH awarded him another grant,” he said.