FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 1, 2022
Contact: Press_Paul@paul.senate.gov, 202-224-4343
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) 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 requesting 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.”
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.
Dr. Paul was joined by Senators Rick Scott (R-FL), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Josh Hawley (R-MO), and James Lankford (R-OK) in sending the letter.
Under 5 U.S.C. § 2954, "[a]n Executive agency, on request of the Committee on [Oversight and Reform] of the House of Representatives, or of any seven members thereof, or on request of the Committee on [Homeland Security and] Governmental Affairs of the Senate, or any five members thereof, shall submit any information requested of it relating to any matter within the jurisdiction of the committee."
The U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs is charged with studying:
the efficiency and economy of operations of all branches of the Government including the possible existence of fraud, misfeasance, malfeasance, collusion, mismanagement, incompetence, corruption or unethical practices, waste, extravagance, conflicts of interest, and the improper expenditure of Government funds in transactions, contracts, and activities of the Government or of Government officials and employees and any and all such improper practices between Government personnel and corporations, individuals, companies, or persons affiliated therewith, doing business with the Government, and the compliance or noncompliance of such corporations, companies, or individuals or other entities with the rules, regulations, and laws governing the various governmental agencies and the Governments relationship with the public.
In order to fulfill this oversight mandate, the Senators asked that the NIH respond and provide the requested information no later than 5:00PM on Friday, June 17, 2022.
You can read the full letter HERE.