The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is defending its decision 3 months ago to award a research grant to Charles Nemeroff, the former Emory University psychiatrist who got into trouble for failing to tell his university about at least $1.2 million in consulting income from drug companies.
After Emory barred him from receiving grants for 2 years in December 2008, Nemeroff moved on to the University of Miami. In May, he won a 5-year, $401,675-a-year grant to study posttraumatic stress disorder. As reported today by the blog Pharmalot, NIH wrote Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) on 3 August in response to a query about the matter. One of Grassley's questions was why NIH had awarded the grant even though Nemeroff was being investigated by the Department of Health and Human Services’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Department of Justice.
In a 3 August letter to Grassley, NIH Deputy Director Lawrence Tabak explains that OIG and Justice investigations are confidential and peer reviewers weren't told about the review. "Absent any finding by the OIG or other actionable grounds at this time to exclude Dr. Nemeroff, the NIH followed standard procedures," the letter says.