by Jeff Stier
A pair of foreign research organizations have gotten numerous grants for work of unclear value
As Democrats and the scientific establishment howl over President Trump’s proposed budget cuts to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Congress is investigating whether that agency misspent U.S. tax dollars to fund two European cancer institutions now under scrutiny for conflicts of interest and dubious science. Key lawmakers are also trying to understand the nature of the cozy relationship between federal bureaucrats with budgets and foreign researchers who are eager to accept grants to promote a political agenda at taxpayers’ expense.
On March 24, House Science, Space, and Technology Committee chairman Lamar Smith sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price (who oversees NIH) requesting information about millions of dollars paid to the Ramazzini Institute, an obscure but controversial cancer non-for-profit based in Italy. The funds were given out by NIH’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), run by Linda Birnbaum; she is also, coincidentally, a Ramazzini fellow…
According to the Energy & Environment Legal Institute, which filed suit this month seeking public documents about the payments, NIH has awarded Ramazzini fellows more than $315 million in grants since 1985; Chairman Smith says that it’s “unclear what services were rendered” under NIH contracts with Ramazzini.