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NIH ends alcohol study, citing funding, credibility problems

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  1. JamesTeaKirk Link

    The National Institutes of Health used money from the alcohol industry to help pay for a study that ultimately was expected to cost $100 million. It’s legal for NIH to use industry money in addition to taxpayer dollars for research as long as certain rules are followed. The problem: An NIH investigation concluded Friday that a small number of its employees had close contact with industry officials that crossed those lines.

    Another concern: Some outside experts who had reviewed the study plans raised concerns that it was too small and too short to address the potential problems of a daily drink — such as an increased risk of cancer or heart failure — and not just potential benefits such as a lowered risk of a heart attack.

    In a statement late Friday, the lead researcher, Beth Israel’s Dr. Kenneth Mukamal, said he and rest of the research team were “deeply disappointed” in NIH’s decision.
    “We stand fully and forcefully behind the scientific integrity” of the study, Mukamal said. He added that “every design consideration was carefully and deliberately vetted with no input or direction whatsoever from private sponsors, who have had no contact” with study staff since the trial began.