The CDC - Center For Disease Corruption

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Dec 19, 2009, 11:29:04 PM12/19/09
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Report finds poor ethics policing at CDC com/hostednews/ ap/article/ ALeqM5j4Qh3gHH2G
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By MIKE STOBBE (AP) – 1 day ago

ATLANTA — The government's top public health agency frequently failed
to police its outside experts for conflicts of interest, according to
a new government report released Friday.

The report looked at how well the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention looked for and dealt with conflicts among about 250
scientific experts who served on 17 advisory panels in 2007.

Panel members are supposed to disclose whether they have been paid by
— or own stock in — drug companies or other entities that might have
an interest in the panel's decisions. The panels provide advice to the
CDC on topics such as how many people should get vaccinated and
guidelines for cancer screenings.

Almost none of the 250 advisers that year properly or completely
filled out forms in which they were required to state potential
conflicts of interest, according to the report by the U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services' Office of the Inspector General.

The report concluded that the CDC failed to follow-up with some of the
experts who disclosed potential conflicts: 85 because of jobs or
grants, 28 with stock ownership and 13 who received consulting fees.

CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden, who took over the agency in June,
filed a response that said the agency has improved its monitoring for
conflicts of interest. CDC also is taking other steps to simplify
reporting of conflicts and to develop new ways of finding out about
experts' grants, he wrote.

Conflicts of interest are not unusual. Many science experts have links
to companies that sell medical products, or work for universities that
seek government grants. In some cases, experts avoid conflicts by not
voting on certain issues, or by selling off their stock. The CDC can
also work out an agreement with an expert — called a waiver — spelling
out when they can cast votes.

But even in those cases, the rules were sometimes disregarded. Seven
people — all of them on the Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker
Health — voted on matters barred on their waivers, the report found.

CDC officials disputed that finding. It may have appeared from meeting
minutes that the experts voted inappropriately, but a review found
nothing inappropriate actually occurred, said CDC spokesman Tom

The Office of the Inspector General has been examining conflicts of
interest at several federal health agencies, including the National
Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration.

One member of Congress, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., said the findings
were concerning.

"The work of the CDC is too important to be tainted in any way,"
DeLauro said in a statement. She sits on the appropriations
subcommittee that has sway over the budgets of the CDC and other
health agencies.

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