Dr. Anthony Fauci has claimed, before a congressional committee, that there is no conflict of interest in his financial dealings and his management of the COVID-19 pandemic.
His dubious testimony lost all credibility last week as it was revealed that Fauci secretly received “royalty payments estimated at $350 million from pharmaceutical and other firms,” according to The Epoch Times.
Under pressure for transparency, Dr. Lawrence Tabak, the acting National Institute for Health director, disclosed that “Dr. Anthony Fauci and hundreds of National Institutes for Health scientists do present an appearance of a conflict of interest.”
Tabak took over as acting NIH Director following the December 2021 resignation of the agency’s “disgraced” leader, Dr. Francis Collins.
Tabak said to a House Appropriations subcommittee that “federal law allows the royalty payments, but he conceded they don’t look ethical.”
Following a Newsweek report that a strong majority of Americans no longer trust statements coming from Fauci, the FDA, CDA, or NIH, Rep. John Moolenaar, R-Mich., told Tabak that “right now, I think the NIH has a credibility problem and this only feeds into this, and I’m only just learning about this.”
People in my district say ‘well, so-and-so has a financial interest,’ or they don’t like Ivermectin because they aren’t benefitting from that royalty …”
“You may have very sound scientific reasons for recommending a medicine or not, but the idea that people get a financial benefit from certain research that’s been done and grants that were awarded, that is to me the height of the appearance of a conflict of interest.”
Somewhat defensive, Tabak replied that “the NIH does not endorse particular medicines, but rather ‘we support the science that validates whether an invention is or is not efficacious, we don’t say this is good or this is bad … I certainly can understand that it might seem as a conflict of interest.'”
Moolenaar did not accept the answer and pressed, “Truthfully, I would say you’ve had leaders of NIH saying certain medicines are not good.”
Tabak replied evasively, claiming such statements by the NIH are based on clinical trials that are supported by the agency.
Seeing that Tabak’s statements did not match the abundance of evidence, Moolenaar questioned Tabak:
“But if the agency is awarding who is the beneficiary of the grant, who is doing the trial, and there is somehow finances involved, that there is a financial benefit that could be accrued if someone’s patent or invention is considered validated, do you not see that as a conflict or at least the appearance of a conflict of interest?”
Finally, Moolenaar conceded there is an appearance of a conflict of interest and suggested, “maybe this is the sort of thing that we can work together on so that we can explain to you the firewalls that we do have because they are substantial and significant.” However, he did not elaborate on what they were.
Financial impropriety among top-tier NIH, CDC and FDA personnel is making headlines after The Epoch Times published an overview of documents obtained in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by a nonprofit government watchdog group.
According to The Epoch Times, those documents show an estimated $350 million in undisclosed royalty payments from pharmaceutical and other private firms to top NIH executives, as well as to hundreds of the agency’s health scientists and researchers.
The $350 million in royalty payments were made between 2010 and 2020, according to Open the Books, the non-profit that took the NIH to court when it refused to acknowledge the group’s FOIA request for documents.
Collins received 14 payments, Fauci received 23 payments and his deputy, Clifford Lane, received eight payments, according to Open the Books.
Adam Andrzejewski, the founder and president of Open the Books, told The Epoch Times Wednesday that NIH continues to withhold important information about the royalty payments, including the names of particular payers and the specific amounts to individuals at NIH.
“With tens of billions of dollars in grant-making at NIH and tens of millions of royalty dollars from third-party payors flowing back into the agency each year, NIH needs to come clean with the American people and open the books. We need to be able to follow the money,” Andrzejewski said.
“We believe transparency will revolutionize U.S. public policy.
“There is no better example of this than the third-party (think pharmaceutical companies) payments to NIH scientists. Every single outside payment to a government scientist could be a conflict of interest,” he added.
Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Fla., a surgeon, told The Epoch Times, “It’s no secret that the agency needs reform. Their many issues were exacerbated and highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic…
“Providing the public with transparent access to how the NIH is spending taxpayer dollars and reaching their decisions is a basic responsibility, and they must be held accountable. Now more than ever, we must commit to reforming our federal health agencies and restoring America’s trust in public health.”
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