Health Care Bill Must Ensure Scientific Integrity, Groups Say

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Elliott Negin
Media Director
202-331-5439
enegin@ucsusa.org

Health Care Bill Must Ensure Scientific Integrity, Groups Say

WASHINGTON -  The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) today asked Congress to
adopt strong transparency and accountability standards for each
advisory committee created by any new health care law. UCS made its
request in a letter
signed by 20 consumer, labor, health, scientific integrity,
transparency, journalism, taxpayer and public interest groups and
delivered to the chairs of key House and Senate committees, House and
Senate leaders, and other lawmakers who will negotiate a final health
care bill.

"The health care proposals now under consideration by Congress must
be based on the best available science and not tainted by special
interests," said Francesca Grifo, director of the Scientific Integrity
Program at UCS. "Science advisory committees must conduct their work
openly and free from conflicts of interest. With so much at stake for
every American family in any health care law, science matters."

In the letter, the groups requested that, at a minimum, any new health care law must:

  • Require that all information about each advisory panel, including a
    full audio or video record of each panel meeting, is accessible via the
    Internet.
  • Actively seek out advisory panel members without conflicts of interest.
  • Assess financial conflicts of interest, and strive to name only non-conflicted experts to advisory committees.
  • When conflicts are unavoidable, require that any waivers given to a
    conflicted advisory board member and the reasons for granting the
    waiver are part of the public record.
  • Specifically require disclosure of the names and backgrounds of
    each member, and whether they are serving as experts or to represent
    particular constituencies.

Groups signing on to the letter include: American Federation of
Government Employees, Association of Reproductive Health Professionals,
Center for Inquiry, Center for Medical Consumers, Center for Responsive
Politics, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, Government
Accountability Project, iSolon.org, Knowledge Ecology International,
National Taxpayers Union, OMB Watch, OpenTheGovernment.org, Our Bodies
Ourselves, Progressive Librarians Guild, Project On Government
Oversight, Public Citizen, Society of Professional Journalists, Union
of Concerned Scientists, and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

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The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world. UCS combines independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative, practical solutions and to secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate practices, and consumer choices.

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