NIH outlines tough rules to expose conflicts of interest

The NIH has spelled out some tough new rules aimed at exposing any conflicts of interest that may be affecting a researcher's work.

The agency wants to have researchers unveil financial interests starting with a $5,000 threshold, replacing the $10,000 minimum now in place. The NIH also wants to make sure that research institutions have a program in place that identifies and manages potential conflicts, possibly including an action plan to eliminate any conflicts. It's looking for a website that will identify potential conflicts and is demanding new training to make sure all scientists understand the rules.

"Plain and simple, Americans do not want financial conflicts of interest to influence federally funded research they hope will yield better ways to fight disease and improve health," wrote NIH Director Francis Collins and Sally Rockey, PhD, in an editorial.

- here's the story from MedPage Today