(TAG's Mark Harrington)
NIH HIV Panelist Harrington's Disclosue Failure
Dr. Alice Pau
Panel on Clinical Practices for Treatment of HIV Infection
National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases
Dear Dr. Pau:
Last week the panel released its latest treatment guidelines for people living with HIV and one panel member, Mark Harrington, the executive director of the Treatment Action Group, again failed to disclose his conflict of interest relationships.
On page 119 of the report, Harrington makes no disclosures. (Source: NIH recommendations)
However, the current annual report for his organization TAG reveals they've received substantial financial contributions from the following pharmaceutical companies: Roche, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Boehringer Ingelheim, Gilead and GlaxoSmithKline. (Source: TAG's 2004 annual report, page 7)
Additionally, TAG has also accepted funding from the National Institutes of Health's Office of AIDS Research, a fact not disclosed by Harrington in the new guidelines. (Source: TAG'S 2003 annual report, page 7)
To be honest, in my opinion, there is nothing inherently wrong or unethical with panel members taking grant dollars from either private drug corporations or the publicly funded NIH, but I find it troubling, to say the least, when all panel members don't properly disclose receiving those grant dollars.
I ask that you and the panel immediately amend the conflict of interest disclosure information for Harrington in the current guidelines. It should take no more than 10 or 15 minutes to update the PDF of the guidelines and include full disclosure about Harrington and TAG's relationships with the drug manufacturers and the NIH.
A prompt reply is requested and appreciated.
San Francisco, CA