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September 09, 2020

Chairwoman Johnson and Chairman Foster Call for Scientific Integrity and Transparency in NIH Funding Policy

(Washington, DC) – Today, House Science, Space, and Technology Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Subcommittee on Investigation and Oversight Chairman Bill Foster (D-IL) sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins raising concerns that actions recommended by a new NIH Human Fetal Tissue Research Ethics Advisory, if carried out, may violate the NIH Scientific Integrity Policy.

“It is critical for NIH to adhere to principles of scientific integrity in all cases, even when politics or special interests may seek to interfere,” the Chairwoman Johnson and Chairman Foster said in the letter. “It is also critical for NIH and all federal science agencies to maintain a trusted partnership with the external research community, and that means using clear and consistent evaluation criteria in grantmaking. With this in mind, we urge you not to reject these applications strictly on the recommendations of the NIH Human Fetal Tissue Research Ethics Advisory Board, and going forward, to evaluate all research proposals according to scientific merit and the NIH Policies and Procedures. We also urge caution against any additional policy limitations to HFT in medical research, as they would have a devastating effect on research into treatments and cures for debilitating diseases like cancer and H.I.V. and on vaccines for deadly infections – including COVID-19, which has already killed over 190,000 Americans.”

A copy of the letter can be found here.