WASHINGTON, D.C. – To fulfill a mandate put forth by the National Institutes of Health in 2005, Republican senators are asking for the agency to disclose of royalty payments paid to staff between 2009 to 2020.
A press release from U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)’s office states that he and Republican members of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (HSGAC) sent a letter to Acting Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Lawrence Tabak asking for information on disclosures of royalty payments made by third-party providers to NIH employees.
“In 2005, the NIH implemented a policy requiring its employees to disclose royalty payments on the consent forms for clinical trial participants; however, the agency has taken no action to disclose such payments to the public at large,” the Senators wrote. “Nevertheless, we believe that the American taxpayer deserves to know the degree to which government doctors and researchers have a financial interest in drugs and products they support, and whether any relationship exists between federal grants awarded by NIH and royalty payments received by NIH personnel. Additionally, Americans deserve greater transparency in how the hundreds of millions in royalty payments NIH receives are distributed, and the degree to which NIH’s leadership- already among the highest-paid individuals in the federal bureaucracy – has benefited from this ‘hidden’ revenue stream.”
Sen. Paul’s office says this letter comes after the nonprofit organization Open the Books submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to disclose royalty payments made between 2009 and 2020. The agency only provided the names of the employees receiving the payments and the number of payments they received between 2009 and 2014; the amounts of the individual payments, the innovation in question, and the names of the third-party payers were redacted by NIH.
The press release says the Senators asked that the NIH respond and provide the requested information no later than 5 p.m. on June 17. You can read the full letter here.