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Fifty-four scientists have lost their jobs as a result of NIH probe into foreign ties

Science - Some 54 scientists have resigned or been fired as a result of an ongoing investigation by the National Institutes of Health into the failure of NIH grantees to disclose financial ties to foreign governments. Read more

Former West Virginia University professor pleads guilty to fraud that enabled him to participate in the People’s Republic of China’s “Thousand Talents Plan”

US Department of Justice - Dr. James Patrick Lewis, of Fairview, West Virginia, has admitted to a fraud charge involving West Virginia University, the Department of Justice announced. Lewis, age 54, pleaded guilty to a one-count information charging him with “Federal Program Fraud.” Read more

Researcher at University Arrested for Wire Fraud and Making False Statements About Affiliation with a Chinese University

US Department of Justice - Anming Hu, an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) was arrested today on a federal indictment and charged with three counts of wire fraud and three counts of making false statements. Read more

U.S. Charges Target Alleged Chinese Spying at Harvard, Boston Institutions

Reuters/Medscape - A Harvard University department chair and two Chinese nationals who were researchers at Boston University and a Boston hospital were charged on Tuesday with lying about their alleged links to the Chinese government. Read more

US Cancer Centers Embroiled in Chinese Research Thefts

Medscape - Academic cancer centers around the United States continue to get caught up in an ever-evolving investigation into researchers — American and Chinese — who did not disclose payments from or the work they did for Chinese institutions while simultaneously accepting taxpayer money through US government grants. Read more

‘Fly Away Teams’ to Teach Universities How to Protect Their Data

Bloomberg Law - Field teams bringing together law enforcement and universities will teach research institutions across the U.S. how to protect their data as the HHS’s national security adviser targets the growing threat of foreign influence on scientific research. Read more

Harvard Professor Is Charged with Lying About Ties to Chinese University

Chronicle of Higher Education - A prominent professor at Harvard University was arrested on Tuesday and charged with lying to federal investigators about funding he had received from the Chinese government. Read more

University of Florida also a target in foreign research scandal

Tampa Bay Times - In a scenario similar to last month’s revelations about Moffitt Cancer Center, four UF faculty members were found to have ties with foreign recruitment programs. Read more

Judge mulls fate of Kansas researcher who denies Chinese work

Associated Press  - A federal judge will hear oral arguments on whether to toss out the indictment against a University of Kansas associate professor accused of secretly working for a Chinese university. Read more

Author of study saying red meat is fine failed to disclose industry funding, journal reveals

Washington Post - Annals of Internal Medicine issues a correction about researcher's undisclosed conflict of interest linking chief researcher to the meat industry. Read more

As China Anxiety Rises in U.S., Fears of New Red Scare Emerge

Bloomberg - Hoover-Asia Society report on coercive campaign sparks debate; Chinese Americans say study reinforces racial stereotypes. Read more

Stolen Research: Chinese Scientist Is Accused of Smuggling Lab Samples

New York Times - Zaosong Zheng, a promising cancer researcher, confessed that he had planned to take the stolen samples to Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital, and publish the results under his own name. Read more

Harvard Medical Researcher Allegedly Attempted to Smuggle Cancer Research to China

The Crimson - A federal judge charged a Harvard Medical School-affiliated researcher Monday with attempting to smuggle research from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at the behest of the Chinese government. Read more

Doctors Prescribe More of a Drug If They Receive Money from a Pharma Company Tied to It

ProPublica - Pharmaceutical companies have paid doctors billions of dollars for consulting, promotional talks, meals and more. A new ProPublica analysis finds doctors who received payments linked to specific drugs prescribed more of those drugs. Read more

U.S. scientists who hide foreign ties should face research misconduct sanctions, panel says

Science Magazine - U.S. scientists who violate government rules on disclosing foreign research ties should be investigated for research misconduct, says an independent group of prominent scientists asked to examine the threat of foreign influences on the U.S. research enterprise. Read more

Moffitt Cancer Center shakeup: CEO and others resign over China ties

Tampa Bay Times - The actions come amid a widening federal investigation of foreign attempts to take advantage of U.S.-backed medical research. Read more

Congress creates two new bodies to tackle foreign influence on U.S. research

Science - Congress is set to approve a major defense bill that would establish two new high-level bodies aimed at preventing foreign governments from unfairly exploiting the U.S. research enterprise. Read more

Congress Set to Form Groups to Protect US Research Security

The Scientist - The National Defense Authorization Act calls for a new task force and roundtable to limit foreign government involvement in federally funded research. Read more

UNC System head, former UNC Health Care CEO didn’t disclose corporate board seats that paid millions on ethics forms

WBTV - William Roper, the current interim president of the University of North Carolina system and former longtime CEO of the UNC Health Care System, failed to disclose his seats on the boards of major corporations between 2011 and 2019, at the same time as those corporations did business with the state, records show. Read more

Clarifying Long-Standing NIH Policies on Disclosing Other Support

NIH - Who funds your current research? Make sure to let NIH know. It is required. Institutions and investigators must disclose all forms of what is termed “other support” when applying for and receiving NIH grants. Read more

Signaling concern over industry funding, Congress presses for transparency at groups supporting NIH, CDC

STAT - The National Institutes of Health has hit a series of ethical snags in recent years, with questions about whether work funded by nonprofit groups has come with too many conditions attached or otherwise failed to meet certain ethical standards. Congress has taken notice. Read more

NIH probe of foreign ties has led to undisclosed firings—and refunds from institutions

Science - An aggressive effort by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to enforce rules requiring its grantees to report foreign ties is still gathering steam. Read More

Former Los Alamos physicist denies federal charges he lied about China ties

Science - A physicist who spent 2 decades at the Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in New Mexico today pleaded not guilty to federal charges of lying about his involvement in a research funding program run by the Chinese government. Read more

Drugmaker paid doctors with problem records to promote its pill

CNN - Avanir Pharmaceuticals paid nearly 500 doctors to speak or consult on its drug, Nuedexta, between 2013 and 2016, according to government data. Read more

One in 12 doctors receive payments from opioid makers

Modern Health - One in 12 U.S. doctors accepted payments from opioid manufacturers from 2013 to 2015, raising questions over how drug companies may influence prescribing practices. Read more

Conflict-of-Interest Rules Are Holding Back Medical Breakthroughs

Harvard Business Review - Few issues are more foundational to driving improvements in human health than creating productive, progressive relationships between clinical medicine and the biopharmaceutical industry. Read more

Dispute over battery research pits UW prof against business partner

The Record - The University of Waterloo says it's returning a $480,000 government grant to develop rechargeable batteries for military use — after a falling-out between a professor and a business partner who alleges his signature was forged to get the federal funding.

Monsanto Emails Raise Issue of Influencing Research on Roundup Weed Killer

The New York Times - Documents released Tuesday in a lawsuit against Monsanto raised new questions about the company’s efforts to influence the news media and scientific research and revealed internal debate over the safety of its highest-profile product, the weed killer Roundup. Read more

Industry Payments to Physicians: Confronting Conflicts of Interest

Cancer Therapy Advisor - A study of 19 non-oncology academic medical centers found, however, that restricting pharmaceutical company representatives' access to physicians (sales visits known as “detailing”) led to “modest but significant” declines in prescribing of drugs promoted by those representatives for most (6 of 8) drug classes. Read more

CRISPR heavyweights battle in US patent court

Nature - It was a tough day in US patent court for the University of California, Berkeley. On 6 December, lawyers for the university laid out its claim to the gene-editing tool called CRISPR–Cas9 during a hearing at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) — and drew intense, sometimes sceptical, questioning from the three judges who will decide the fate of patents that could be worth billions of dollars. Read More

Citizen expectations of 'academic entrepreneurship' in health research: public science, practical benefit

Health Expectations - We explore citizen expectations of the specifically academic nature of commercial science [i.e. academic entrepreneurship (AE)] and the influence of conflict of interest concerns, hopes about practical benefits and general beliefs. Read More

Reviews Of Medical Studies May Be Tainted By Funders' Influence

NPR - When doctors want to help untangle confusing and sometimes contradictory findings in the scientific literature, they often turn to specially crafted summary studies. These are considered the gold standard for evidence. But one of the leading advocates for this practice is now raising alarm about them, because they are increasingly being tainted by commercial interests. Read More

Should a paper be retracted if an author omits a conflict of interest?

Retraction Watch -- A JAMA journal has quickly issued a correction for a 2016 paper after the author failed to mention several relevant conflicts of interest. Read More

When Doctors have conflicts of interest

NPR -- It’s complicated. Certainly, the relationships doctors have with drug or device manufacturers drive innovation, and help make those products better for patients. But can we ever be sure these relationships aren’t influencing the purity of our practice of medicine, even a little? Read More(link is external)

Doctors Who Accepted Meals from Drug Makers Prescribed More of Their Pills

STAT -- Doctors who were fed meals costing even less than $20 later prescribed certain brand-name pills more often than rival medicines, according to a new analysis (link is external)published on Monday of a federal database. Read More(link is external)

In Medical Research, Financial Conflicts of Interest Do Matter

Boston Globe -- Financial conflicts of interest matter. They can best be defined as any financial association (or promise of one in the future) that would give researchers an incentive to distort their work. Read More