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Dr. Francis CollinsNational Institutes of Health

WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) – The embattled National Institutes of Health (NIH) and its scientists received $134 million in verified royalties from third parties such as drug companies between 2009 and 2014, with hundreds of millions more estimated to be unrevealed, according to the findings of a lawsuit from watchdog group Open the Books.

“Recently, our organization at forced NIH to disclose over 22,100 royalty payments totaling nearly $134 million paid to the agency and nearly 1,700 NIH scientists,” OTB founder and CEO Adam Andrzejewski wrote. “The agency admits to holding 3,000 pages of line-by-line royalties since 2009. So far, they’ve produced only 1,200 pages. The next 1,800 pages of production will cover the period 2015-2020.”

The group estimates that payments exceeding $350 million were made between the fiscal years 2010 and 2020. It is unknown how much overlap there is between the two figures, as are the exact amounts of the payments received by specific scientists.

The suit did reveal, however, the number of payments received by top officials, including 23 different payments to National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and controversial presidential COVID-19 adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci (who was already the highest-paid federal employee in the United States), and 14 payments to the similarly-controversial former NIH director Francis Collins.

The payments raise significant conflict-of-interest concerns for NIH’s role overseeing the work of pharmaceutical companies, especially given the agency’s lack of transparency.

“NIH defied the federal Freedom of Information Act law and refused to even acknowledge our open records request for the royalty payments. We filed our FOIA last September,” Andrzejewski noted. “NIH used expensive taxpayer-funded litigation to slow-walk royalty disclosures (releasing the oldest royalties first). Although the agency admits to holding 3,000 pages, it will take 10 months to produce them (300 pages per month) […] NIH is heavily redacting key information on the royalty payments. For example, the agency erased 1. the payment amount, and 2. who paid it! This makes the court-mandated production virtually worthless, despite our use of the latest forensic auditing tools.”

This latest revelation follows a string of controversies in which NIH undermined public health, scientific inquiry, and medical ethics for the sake of left-wing ideology, from its support of research using aborted fetal cells and surgical and chemical “transitioning” of children, to its leaders’ attempts to discredit respected epidemiologists for their since-vindicated opposition to COVID lockdowns, to its dismissal of the theory that COVID escaped from a Chinese lab to preserve “international harmony.’