NO ‘SUGAR-COATING’
New Oversight Coming to Clinical Center, Intramural Research

At a town hall meeting Apr. 22, NIH director Dr. Francis Collins (l) and Clinical Center director Dr. John Gallin hear employee concerns following release of “Red Team” report on the hospital.
At a town hall meeting Apr. 22, NIH director Dr. Francis Collins (l) and Clinical Center director Dr. John Gallin hear employee concerns following release of “Red Team” report on the hospital.

Sometimes, hospitals themselves have to take medicine. That was the conclusion of a working group of the advisory committee to the NIH director whose 11 recommendations about Clinical Center management were unanimously accepted by the ACD and then immediately acted upon by NIH director Dr. Francis Collins on Apr. 21.

The next morning, Collins, CC director Dr. John Gallin and NIH deputy director for intramural research Dr. Michael Gottesman presented the so-called “Red Team’s” findings to the intramural community at a town hall meeting in Masur Auditorium. They assured employees that steps taken to address shortcomings identified almost a year ago in the CC’s pharmaceutical development section (PDS) will result in renewed emphasis on patient safety and continuation of world-class research.

The issue that led to what Collins characterized as a nearly year-long period of therapeutic “soul searching” at NIH was a CC pharmacy department employee’s complaint to the FDA in May 2015 about procedures involving sterile injectables. The whistleblower, lauded as “something of a hero,” by Gallin, exposed a culture wherein overworked PDS employees, struggling to please researchers, sometimes cut corners in the rush to provide products, then found that complaints to superiors about the situation never rose to top CC management.

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LEAVING SENATE, BUT NOT THE FIGHT
In Farewell Visit, Longtime NIH Champion Mikulski Vows Continued Support

Sen. Barbara Mikulski
Sen. Barbara Mikulski

Perhaps no lawmaker has packed a more powerful punch for NIH throughout a career in Congress than Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD). As she prepares to depart the legislative body this term as the longest-serving woman in its history, Maryland’s senior senator visited campus Apr. 11 for a town hall meeting that was part “farewell,” part “not finished yet.”

“We can talk about the past, but it is the past,” Mikulski said. “Though I want to savor the past, I want to focus on fighting for the future.”

Once again, she vowed to work her earrings off “so that the last appropriation for the NIH under Barbara Mikulski’s watch is going to be the best damn appropriation you’ve ever seen.

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