STAT, May 17, 2018
Andrew Joseph


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The National Institutes of Health has suspended enrollment in a studyaimed at investigating whether moderate alcohol consumption helps cardiovascular health following concerns over the alcoholic beverage industry’s role in the study.

In testimony before a Senate subcommittee Thursday, NIH Director Francis Collins said that enrollment had been halted a week ago as officials investigate how the funding for the study was raised and if the study is still worth pursuing.

“For NIH, our reputation is so critical,” Collins said. “And if we are putting ourselves in a circumstance where that could be called into question, I felt like we had to look at that very seriously and come up with another strategy.”

Recent reports in Wired and the New York Times revealed that the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, an NIH agency, had wooed the industry to contribute millions of dollars to the study. Critics said that the funding created a conflict of interest and a potential motivation to publish findings that would back industry claims that moderate drinking does indeed provide health benefits. [...]

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