The National Desk: Shedding Light on NIH's Financial Ties with Pharmaceutical Industry 42_TND_NIH_royalties

August 11, 2023 05:21 PM


Original article at

During the pandemic, some Americans wondered just how close the federal government was to the pharmaceutical industry and an oversight investigation by reveals just how close they were. 

CEO of OpenTheBooks Adam Andrzejewski joined The National Desk’s Scott Thuman to discuss the issue.

"We found a revolving door, last year the National Institutes of Health (NIH) doled out over $30 billion in grant-making to over 50,000 recipients," Andrzejewski said.

"Coming back through the other door, we found that over the course of the last 12 years, $325 million flowed from the industry — think pharmaceutical companies — back into the NIH in bridging the agency, its leadership, and 2,400 of its scientists.

Now, every single one of those payments has the potential to be a conflict of interest and as a matter of fact, the acting director of the NIH in a U.S. House Appropriations hearing last year admitted that. He said every single payment has the appearance of a conflict of interest."

Investigating this type of information and dealing with the government can be challenging at times. What kind of pushback if any, did you face while you were digging up these papers? 

Andrzejewski added the NIH did try to stop the information from coming to light after a Freedom of Information Act was requested. 

"They forced us into expensive federal litigation and when we won that they slow-walked over a 10-month period 3,000 pages worth of line-by-line third-party royalty information," he said. "When we got that production, it was heavily redacted and blacked out so the production was virtually worthless. And then leadership like Lawrence Tabak, the acting director, and Anthony Fauci go in front of Senate hearings and say essentially that no further information was forthcoming.

But just last week, we achieved a big transparency victory for the first time in history. We forced the National Institutes of Health to disclose who paid the companies $325 million worth of royalties since 2009."


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