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The National Institutes of Health (NIH) received some $350 million in unreported royalties. Beneficiaries reportedly included the agency’s recently deceased director, Dr. Francis Collins, and Dr. Anthony Fauci.
According to a report by Open the Books, a nonprofit government watchdog, “it is estimated that up to $350 million in royalties from third parties were paid to NIH scientists during the fiscal years between 2010 and 2020.”
Conflict of interest at NIH?
“We draw that conclusion because, in the first five years, there has been $134 million that we have been able to quantify of top-line numbers that flowed from third-party payers, meaning pharmaceutical companies or other payers, to NIH scientists,” said the NGO’s director, Adam Andrzejewski.
At a press conference, Andrzejewski pointed out that the first five years, from 2010 to 2014, make up 40% of the total received.
“We now know that there are 1,675 scientists that received payments during that period, at least one payment. In fiscal year 2014, for instance, $36 million was paid out and that is on average $21,100 per scientist,” said Andrzejewski
“We also find that during this period, leadership at NIH was involved in receiving third-party payments. For instance, Francis Collins, the immediate past director of NIH, received 14 payments. Dr. Anthony Fauci received 23 payments and his deputy, Clifford Lane, received eight payments,” he added.
According to the NGO’s finding, the top five NIH employees received such royalty payments while on the government payroll.
Collins resigned as NIH director in December 2021, while Fauci has been director of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) since 1984, as well as President Joe Biden’s chief medical advisor. Lane is the deputy director of NIAID, reporting to Fauci.
“None of these payments are receiving any scrutiny whatsoever and to the extent that a company making payments to either leadership or scientists, while also receiving grants … then that just on its face is a conflict of interest,” Andrzejewski said.
The organization is also seeking greater transparency regarding Fauci himself and filed a FOIA request in January 2021 to discover what his current job description consists of.
“Today, NIH is a revolving door of tens of billions of dollars in government grant-making coupled with hundreds of millions of dollars in private — non-transparent — royalty payments,” Andrzejewski wrote.
“There needs to be a lot more sunshine on this potentially unholy alliance,” he assured.