NIH Conflict of Interest Changes Held Up?

According to the Project on Government Oversight (H/T The Scientist), the proposed changes to conflicts of interest rules for National Institutes of Health (NIH) extramural researchers are currently under review with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).  This prompted a letter to the OMB arguing strongly for the implementation of the central database of reported conflicts envisioned in the proposed rule.  There has been some resistance to this point.  As a rebuttal, the letter cites a recent instance of conflicts at Harvard Medical School that the Project believes could have been mitigated by requiring disclosure to a central database rather than the institution.  (As the researchers in question failed to disclose to the institution, I’m not completely persuaded.)

According to The Scientist, the OMB started reviewing these rules in March.  No final rule, nor a timeline for one, has been announced.  This suggests that the OMB could be behind the delay in final rules, regulations and policy proposals in several areas of note (scientific integrity recommendations, I’m looking at you).