Dr Trey Sutherland, a government employee of the National Institutes of Health, United States, has finally pleaded guilty to charges of conflict -of -interests. This involves going against the ethics of the organization by offering professional advice and help to a private company.
Sutherland, a well known Alzheimer researcher was accused of proving the giant drug company, Pfizer with thousands of invaluable blood plasma and tissue samples of Alzheimer patients, as well as pocketing around $300,000 in terms of consultation fees. His research involved the study of 'biomarkers'; essential characteristics found in the blood and cerebral spinal fluid of Alzheimer patients. Biomarkers reveal the presence and progress of the disease.
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Sutherland had sought to refrain from answering questions when primarily accused six months ago.
Having being pronounced guilty, Sutherland faces a sentence of 400 hours of community service, two years probation and surrender of the consultation fees.
"Dr. Sunderland violated the fundamental rule that government employees cannot accept payment from interested private parties without the permission of their supervisors," U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein said in a statement.
Officials of NIH however, say Sutherland is still an employee of the organization.