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  • Washington Highlights

    HHS Office of Inspector General Releases Reports on Conflicts of Interest and Foreign Influence

    Heather Pierce, Senior Director, Science Policy & Regulatory Counsel
    Anurupa Dev, Director, Science Policy & Strategy

    The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) Sept. 27 released three reports on financial conflicts of interest (FCOI), foreign threats to the biomedical research enterprise, and the steps the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is taking to protect the integrity of NIH-funded research.

    The NIH has become increasingly concerned about the sharing of confidential information from grant applications, diversion of intellectual property, and the lack of reporting of financial support by NIH-funded researchers from foreign governments [Washington Highlights, July 9].

    The objective of the OIG study was to “determine whether NIH has policies, procedures, and other controls in place for helping to ensure that institutions report all sources of research support, financial interests, and affiliations.” The reports demonstrate that the NIH should take steps to strengthen the agency’s oversight of investigator’s financial conflicts of interest and vetting process for the peer review of grant applications to identify potential foreign threats.  

    Specifically, the reports include:

    The AAMC is developing a series of issue briefs on foreign influence, focusing on government efforts to address the issue and the institutional response.

    The OIG reports, AAMC’s briefs, and other resources can be found on the AAMC Conflicts of Interest and Transparency webpage.