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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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More Turmoil Over Hidden Costs of NIH Children's Study
10 August 2009 4:33 pm
The long-time director of an ambitious children's health study at the National Institutes of Health has changed jobs in the wake of an internal report suggesting that officials deliberately concealed the ballooning costs of the project.
Mandated by Congress in 2000, the National Children's Study (NCS) plans to follow the health of 100,000 children from before birth through to age 21. Several months ago, officials at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) revealed that the price tag for the study, long estimated at around $3 billion over 25 years, could actually reach $6 billion. NIH Acting Director Raynard Kington put the full study on hold until a pilot is completed and ordered a review.
That was not the end of the matter, however. A recent report from the NIH Office of Management Assessment, the agency's internal auditing office, suggests that NICHD staff deliberately left out the "indirect," or overhead costs, of the study in their estimates, according to a source who has seen the report. Lawmakers are not happy about NIH's lack of candor. Last week in a report accompanying a spending bill for NIH's 2010 budget, a Senate panel said it "consider[s] this withholding of information to be a serious breach of trust." Unlike its House of Representatives counterpart, the Senate panel did not set aside the $194 million for NCS that the White House requested; instead the Senate will decide the funding level, "if any," when it meets with the House to reconcile the two bills.
Meanwhile, on 10 July, NCS's first director, Peter Scheidt, stepped down to become an advisor to NICHD Director Duane Alexander. As yet unknown is whether there will be more fallout from this accounting problem. But one rumor circulating in Washington, D.C., is that Alexander, who turns 69 this month and has led the NICHD for 23 years, will soon announce his retirement.