Tuesday, May 25, 2010

CIRM Comments on New NIH Disclosure Rules

Don Gibbons, chief communications officer for the California stem cell agency, filed this comment today on our post, “Disclosure Proposal Likely to Affect CIRM.”
“Casual readers of your posts will take away the notion that NIH is now requiring scientist peer reviewers to post their financial conflicts on the web. That is not true. Existing NIH policy, which is mirrored by CIRM policy, as well as the revised NIH policy, pertains to recipients of NIH grants, not reviewers. Therefore, why does your headline assert the NIH policy change is "likely to affect CIRM." Yes, most of our grant reviewers have NIH grants and will need to post their financial forms on their home institution web sites, but that does not impact CIRM.”
Our point is that CIRM, whose chairman has repeatedly vowed to adhere to the highest standards of openness and transparency, cannot ignore a new standard for disclosure of industry ties by researchers. Currently CIRM scientific reviewers do not have to disclose publicly their financial interests. Under the new NIH rules, those reviewers will be disclosing their industry ties on their home institution Web sites. If CIRM does not disclose the same industry ties of its reviewers on its Web site, the agency will effectively be flouting what will be THE national standard for disclosure by researchers(albeit a weak one, based on what the Institute of Medicine has to say).

The financial interests of CIRM reviewers do have a potential impact on their grant application decisions, which CIRM acknowledges. As Francis Collins, director of the NIH, said, the rules are needed to preserve the “integrity of the scientific enterprise.”

1 comment:

  1. From Don Gibbons of CIRM: "Your interpretation of facts often baffles me. NIH is the funding agency. They are not posting reviewer conflicts on their web site. We are the funding agency. How is our not posting reviewer conflicts on our web site 'flouting THE national standard'?"

    (Editor's note: Gibbons sent the above to us via email and asked that it be filed as a comment. He reported difficulty with the comment function on this blog. If others are having problems with filing comments, please email me at djensen@californiastemcellreport.com))