Sneak Preview: HHS Revamps Financial Conflict of Interest Rule

September 1, 2011 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

(This post is based on an upcoming article in the Federal Grants Management Handbook.) Institutions receiving Department of Health and Human Services biomedical and behavioral research grants will be required to submit more comprehensive reports to their grantor agency detailing how they are managing identified financial conflicts of interest.

HHS recently amended its 16-year-old regulations related to award applicants’ responsibilities for promoting objectivity in research. The agency said that the changes stemmed from growing complexities among governmental entities, research institutions and the private sector.  There also has been increased scrutiny from Congress and the public about principal investigators’ financial relationships, and a desire for increased transparency and accountability.

Studies have shown that relationships between individual academic researchers and industry have increased from 28 percent in 1996 to 52.8 percent in 2007. The HHS said that researchers often work with industry to field test new strategies and approaches developed in basic research, thus hastening breakthroughs in improving human health. However, such relationships with industry can create risks that industry may unduly influence the researchers’ medical objectivity.

More information about the rule will be available in the October issue of the Federal Grants Management Handbook.


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