Following criticism in May, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) ended a study aiming to understand whether drinking alcohol every day could have health benefits. The study received $67 million in funding from six alcohol companies.
Now, the NIH is sharpening its guidelines for how employees of its eight institutes seek donations. The NIH director said, “We have to do everything we can to ensure the integrity of the NIH grants process and the quality of our research is above reproach, which means worrying about conflicts.” In addition, the NIH is planning for consistency across its institutes.
Some wonder why the NIH wasn’t already practicing due diligence and preventing conflicts of interest. Critics say the NIH isn’t doing enough and should accept private funding only for general use—not for specific research.
What’s your view of the NIH’s practices? How is this situation an issue of integrity for the organization?
The NIH’s credibility has taken a hit. What can the leaders do to recover the organization’s image?