Working Group on Ethical Considerations for Industry Partnership on Research to Help End the Opioid Crisis
NIH has been intensely engaged for several months in planning stages with the Foundation for NIH (FNIH) and potential external partners to identify and outline options for collaboration to address the opioid crisis. Discussions have included dozens of companies, a few of which manufacture opioids and are the target of current litigation by several state Attorneys General and other entities. While there may be significant opportunity to advance addiction and treatment research with the financial, technical, and intellectual support of this substantial roster of private sector companies, one must consider the ethics of accepting contributions from those companies that are perceived as having contributed to the crisis. As a likely member of this potential partnership, FNIH is also contemplating these issues, which will be discussed in detail at an FNIH board meeting in March.
To make recommendations about considerations and appropriate ethical boundaries for engaging with and accepting resources from opioid producers, to support research to redress the opioid crisis.
To inform its deliberations, the working group may: identify the risks (including ethical, governance, reputational, and relationship risks) and benefits of accepting such resources; examine options for funding and/or governance structures that might mitigate ethical risks, identify concerns and real or perceived conflicts-of-interest; and assess existing guidance for protecting the integrity of research funded by industries with real or perceived ethical conflicts.