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House Passes Historic Whistleblower Bill Protecting Federal Scientists

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In an effort to end corruption on the Federal level for Scientists who expose political interference in their research, the house overwhelmingly passed the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act. This is important especially in light of drug litigation where federal scientist often fear political ramifications for expousing dangerous drugs such as Vioxx, Ortho Evra et al. Hopefully this will end some of the corruption that drug companies have used their monies to create. The following statement was issued regarding this bill:

Statement by Dr. Francesca Grifo, Senior Scientist and Director, Scientific Integrity Program, Union of Concerned Scientists WASHINGTON–The House of Representatives today overwhelmingly passed the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, which would, for the first time, grant federal scientists and contractors the right to expose political interference in their research without fear of retribution. The bill passed by a 331 to 94 vote, with 229 Democrats and 102 Republicans voting in favor.

The House soundly rejected an amendment from Rep. Bill Sali (R-Idaho) that would have stripped all protections for scientists from the legislation. Instead, the legislators included an amendment by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) giving scientists the right to present their research at conferences and in peer-reviewed journals.

Below is a statement by Francesca Grifo, senior scientist and director of the Scientific Integrity Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists:

“Today, both Republicans and Democrats stood up to protect the brave scientists who expose political interference in their work. The resounding bipartisan support for this bill should embolden the Senate to pass similar legislation and send it quickly to the president’s desk.

“Censoring scientists undermines our democracy and threatens public health. One stunning example: Vioxx. Fifty-five thousand Americans died because scientists at the Food and Drug Administration couldn’t speak out. If this law had been in place at the time, those people might still be alive today.”