Earlier today, Dr. Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) made an urgent and critical report to the U.S. Senate. In it he outlined the following issues and steps towards mitigation of serious threats to our biomedical research enterprise and intellectual property assessment management and protections of confidentiality in reports.

“Unfortunately, threats to the integrity of U.S. biomedical research exist. NIH is aware that some foreign entities have mounted systematic programs to influence NIH researchers and peer reviewers and to take advantage of the long tradition of trust, fairness, and excellence of NIH-supported research activities. This kind of inappropriate influence is not limited to biomedical research; it has been a significant issue for defense and energy research for some time. Three areas of concern have emerged:

I. Diversion of intellectual property (IP) in grant applications or produced by NIH-supported biomedical research to other entities, including other countries;

2. Sharing of confidential information on grant applications by NIH peer reviewers with others, including foreign entities, or otherwise attempting to influence funding decisions; and

3. Failure by some researchers working at NIH-funded institutions in the U.S. to disclose substantial resources from other organizations, including foreign governments, which threatens to distort decisions about the appropriate use of NIH funds.

NIH is working with other government agencies and the broader biomedical research community, including NIH-funded institutions and U.S. university professional organizations, to identify steps that can help mitigate these unacceptable breaches of trust and confidentiality that undermine the integrity of U.S. biomedical research.”

CPAC will provide further information by posting updates at our webpage through the ASA business office.

Patricia Morris,