Did you ever wonder how some drugs manage to skate through clinical trials only to be later revealed as medical disasters? Wonder no more.
Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday sent a letter to NIH requesting details about a senior researcher’s connection to the pharmaceutical industry as part of an investigation into conflicts of interest at the agency, the Los Angeles Times reports (Willman, Los Angeles Times, 8/10).
The researcher — Thomas Walsh, head of a medical research and treatment section within the pediatric division of National Cancer Institute — helped design, oversee and interpret clinical trials of the Merck drug Cancidas and the Fujisawa medication AmBisome. Walsh has accepted consulting fees from Merck and donations for research from Merck and Fujisawa.
In addition, Merck in 2001 called Walsh as a witness as part of a presentation of the results of the Cancidas trial to an FDA advisory committee. Walsh testified for Merck, despite that federal law usually bars federal employees from representing external groups before a government agency.