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“Hidden revenue stream” directs undisclosed amount in royalty payments to NIH scientists, government employees

Published in Blog on June 06, 2022 by Brianna Kraemer

The National Institutes of Health is under fire by Republican senators after it was discovered last week that researchers in the agency receive an undisclosed amount in royalty payments from third-party providers for their work in developing patented drugs and medical products.

Five Republican senators, including Convention of States supporter Sen. Rand Paul, sent a letter to Acting Director of the NIH, Lawrence Tabak, requesting more information on the amount of money government-employed researchers have received from patented medical inventions.

Essentially, scientists employed by the federal government are receiving an unknown amount in royalty payments from pharmaceutical companies for their work in product development, and senators are rightfully demanding more details.

A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request sought to uncover these payment details from 2009 to 2020, but the NIH only provided the names of the employees receiving the payments and number of payments they received between 2009 and 2014. The agency failed to provide amounts of the individual payments, the innovation in question, and the names of third-party payers. 

The letter states:

“Nevertheless, we believe that the American taxpayer deserves to know the degree to which government doctors and researchers have a financial interest in drugs and products they support, and whether any relationship exists between federal grants awarded by NIH and royalty payments received by NIH personnel.

Additionally, Americans deserve greater transparency in how the hundreds of millions in royalty payments NIH receives are distributed, and the degree to which NIH's leadership- already among the highest-paid individuals in the federal bureaucracy - has benefited from this "hidden" revenue stream.”

The letter goes on to request detailed royalty payment information, including the names of employees, their positions, pay grades and third-party payers through 2021.

How are we supposed to trust that Dr. Fauci, Rochelle Walensky and all the other government employees working in medical agencies have our best interests when they are incentivized to develop and sell medical products to Big Pharma for personal gain? 

The first step towards holding the government accountable is uncovering how much in royalty payments individuals working for the government have received – that should be an eye-opener.

The next solution that we must keep pushing for is a Convention of States so we can stop this insider collusion and power abuse from continuing. 

Using Article V in the Constitution, a Convention of States can be called when 34 state legislatures agree to meet – and 19 states have already done so. When a convention takes place, term limits, fiscal responsibility and limiting the size of the federal government will be topics of discussion that can lead to a restoration of personal liberty for our entire nation.

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