The National Institutes of Health has ousted three employees who were involved in a highly questioned study of moderate alcohol use, and Director Francis S. Collins said he’s determined to prevent other bum studies from moving forward in the future.
Some of the researchers involved in the alcohol study had previously been funded by alcohol industry groups, leading critics to question whether the results of the NIH study would be tainted.
Dr. Collins canceled the study over the summer, and told Sen. Charles E. Grassley in a letter this week that some of those involved in the study are gone.
“As a result, three individuals are no longer employed at NIH or anywhere within the Department of Health and Human Services. While NIH has a longstanding commitment to keep administrative personnel action information confidential, we certainly understand the concerns that you have raised,” Dr. Collins told Mr. Grassley.
He said the study will be formally ended on Jan. 31, after “an orderly closeout.” Total costs at that point will have been $4 million — far less than the $20 million Mr. Grassley said the NIH had suggested as a price tag at one point.
Mr. Grassley praised Dr. Collins for taking complaints about the study seriously.
“The questionable activities related to this study were alarming to me and all taxpayers and should have never happened in the first place,” he said. “NIH’s timely response and willingness to hold responsible parties accountable is what taxpayers expect and deserve from their federal government.”