Health

The US National Health Agency has received millions of dollars from unknown sources

Hundreds of millions of dollars have been paid to scientists at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) from 2009 to the present. The revelation is the work of the US NGO OpenTheBooks which, since 2011, has been working in favor of transparency regarding the money spent by US federal agencies, helping to unmask the distortions of the US system and the billions of dollars that have gone out of the state coffers in a non-transparent way. This time, the report published by OpenTheBooks concerns money that flowed directly into the institution’s coffers. Specifically, millions of dollars that third parties ended up in the pockets of executives, officials, doctors and scientists of the US federal health agency.

According to OpenTheBooks, payments made to people who work for federal agencies could represent a potential conflict of interest And therefore they need to be disclosed. OpenTheBooks accuses the NIH of not respecting the “Freedom of Information Act” and of using taxpayers’ money to hide information that should instead be public and transparent, also manipulating the documents that the Institute must now disclose.

Thanks to OpenTheBooks’ federal lawsuit against the NIH, the federal agency was forced to disclose over 22,100 royalty payments, totaling nearly $ 134 million, paid to the agency and nearly 1,700 NIH employed scientists. The payments made known so far, thanks to the action of the organization led by Adam Andrzejewski, concern the period 2009-2014. In fact, of the approximately 3,000 pages that the NIH is forced to publish, only 1,200 were submitted to US citizens, at a rate of 300 pages per month. Furthermore, OpenTheBooks denounces the manipulation of documents by the NIH, which omits the amount of each single payment and by whom it was made; details of no small importance that actually prevent citizens from knowing who financed the national health organization. According to estimates made by OpenTheBooks, they would be approximately $ 350 million in total royalties paid by third parties for the entire 2009-2020 period.

Among those who have received sums of money we find the highest positions of the agency. Anthony Faucidirector of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and chief medical adviser to President Biden, received 23 payments. Francis Collinsdirector of the NIH from 2009 to 2021, received 14 royalty payments. Clifford Lane, deputy director of the NIAID, received 8 payments. As already mentioned, it is not known the amount of the sums of each single royalty and by whom it was paid.

The non-governmental organization accuses the federal agency of being one revolving door made up of billions of dollars in government grants and payments that private individuals provide in a non-transparent way through royalties. OpenTheBooks founder Adam Andrzejewski wonders, “When a federal bureaucrat appears on television giving us health instructions, who paid them and for what research and technology? When a patient accepts a clinical trial or experimental treatment, what financial interests are involved? “

[di Michele Manfrin]

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