In DepthRESEARCH ETHICS

NIH kills alcohol trial, starts hunt for other suspect studies

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Science  22 Jun 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6395, pp. 1286
DOI: 10.1126/science.360.6395.1286

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Summary

The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, last week killed a huge clinical trial probing the potential benefits of moderate drinking after an investigation found that senior officials at the agency's alcohol institute secretly and improperly wooed the alcoholic beverage industry to fund the $100 million project. The investigative report, released on 15 June, also determined that officials at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism steered grants funding the study to a favored scientist and helped manipulate the trial design to maximize the likelihood that moderate alcohol intake would be found to protect against heart disease and diabetes. As he ordered the trial axed, NIH Director Francis Collins called the conduct "way outside of the acceptable culture of our noble institution."

  • * With reporting by Jocelyn Kaiser.