A senior and well-known scientist of America's premier medical agency the National Institutes of Health has been charged with criminal conflict of interests.
Dr Trey Sutherland is charged with accepting money from Pfizer, the international drug company as consulting fees as well as providing vials of spinal fluid and plasma to them. He is said to have received $285,000 in payment for travel expenses and work involving consultation on 'biomarkers" or early indicators of Alzheimer's disease.
This is against the ethics of the agency, which forbids government scientists from being involved in private deals or any work that holds a financial interest for them. This follows a two-year-old move made by NIH to curb its scientists from fattening their wallets with private consultations and deals.
The last such indicted was Prem Sarin, a cancer researcher at NIH. . He was asked to step down after he shared work on a vaccine for AIDS with a private company.
If convicted Dr. Sutherland will have to spend upto one year in prison as well as shell out $ 100,000.