SEVERE WX : Severe Thunderstorm Watch View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Federal agency scrutinized over potential alcohol industry links

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism is coming under scrutiny over communications with the alcohol ...

Posted: Apr 3, 2018 10:06 AM
Updated: Apr 3, 2018 10:06 AM

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism is coming under scrutiny over communications with the alcohol industry.

The National Institutes of Health, which includes the alcohol institute, is looking into whether any of its workers broke federal rules prohibiting employees from asking for money when they met with alcohol companies to discuss an upcoming government study on the potential benefits of moderate drinking, according to a New York Times investigation.

New York Times investigation: Scientists met with industry to ask for money for a study

National Institutes of Health says it is looking into the matter

A separate investigation in the digital publication Stat found that the alcohol institute's director, George Koob, may have killed a study that did not look favorable to the alcohol industry.

Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, will also get outside experts to weigh in on the design of the study, The New York Times said.

The Times investigation found that staff members of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism met with members of the alcohol industry multiple times in 2013 and 2014 to potentially get financial backing for a clinical trial looking into whether drinking might have health benefits.

These meetings were before the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, the branch of the government that is allowed to raise funds from private donors that can fund research, became involved, the Times found. National Institutes of Health employees are not supposed to engage in direct fundraising, although there is a donations page on the alcoholism institute's website where "individuals and organizations can contribute to the NIAAA gift fund."

Liquor companies Anheuser-Busch InBev, Heineken, Carlsberg, Diageo and Pernod Ricard pledged $67.7 million, through the foundation, toward the $100 million cost of the study, the Times said.

Neither the National Institutes of Health nor the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism responded to CNN's requests for comment.

Most people know that excessive and binge drinking can cause a number of health problems, including cancer, memory problems, violence and unintentional injuries. Some research suggests that moderate drinking -- a glass of wine or beer or a mixed drink a day for women, two for men -- is associated with longer life and has some heart benefits. Much of that, though, relies on study participants' ability to recall how much they've had or is based on other associational research. There is limited clinical trial evidence of why moderate drinking may be a good thing.

The study -- fueled in large part by industry funds channeled through the foundation -- according to the New York Times, is the Moderate Alcohol and Cardiovascular Health Trial. It is currently recruiting 7,800 people from around the world to participate in a randomized control trial. Some of them will not drink, and some will drink moderately, potentially putting them at risk for cardiovascular issues. It would follow participants for six years and be the first long-term trial of its kind.

Koob told the Times that he was unaware of the meetings with industry representatives, which would have happened before he took office in January 2014. He said industry sponsorship wouldn't compromise the findings of the study: "We do things right at NIH."

A separate investigation by Stat suggested that Koob said in 2015 that his agency would "pull back" from research that showed an association between the marketing of alcohol and underage drinking. In an email reviewed by Stat, Koob reassured a leader at the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, an alcohol industry trade group, that "for the record. This will NOT happen again."

Koob told Stat that his email was prompted by "critical evaluation" of a study and that it "was to convey that I had no intention of supporting research that was not of the highest scientific quality. NIAAA funds a vast amount of research on underage drinking, which is among the Institute's top research priorities."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 25208

Reported Deaths: 1060
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin8514616
Ramsey3075128
Stearns203013
Nobles15445
Anoka142970
Dakota134957
Washington64532
Olmsted63410
Kandiyohi4971
Rice4622
Scott4362
Clay42728
Mower3452
Wright3202
Todd3190
Sherburne2462
Carver2182
Benton1783
Steele1600
Blue Earth1420
Martin1325
Freeborn1250
St. Louis11814
Pine890
Unassigned8810
Nicollet8810
Winona8015
Cottonwood760
Watonwan750
Carlton750
Crow Wing712
Otter Tail700
Goodhue683
Chisago621
Polk612
Lyon570
Itasca5510
Dodge530
Chippewa511
Morrison470
Meeker450
Douglas440
Le Sueur441
Becker400
Murray390
Jackson390
McLeod370
Isanti350
Waseca260
Rock220
Swift190
Mille Lacs191
Pennington190
Faribault190
Wabasha180
Fillmore171
Sibley160
Brown162
Beltrami150
Cass142
Norman130
Marshall120
Pipestone120
Kanabec111
Wilkin113
Wadena100
Koochiching90
Pope90
Aitkin80
Mahnomen61
Yellow Medicine60
Big Stone60
Lincoln50
Redwood50
Renville50
Red Lake40
Grant40
Lac qui Parle30
Clearwater30
Traverse30
Houston20
Hubbard20
Roseau20
Lake10
Kittson10
Stevens10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 19669

Reported Deaths: 555
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk4236133
Woodbury276136
Black Hawk174745
Linn95379
Dallas91623
Marshall89616
Buena Vista8100
Johnson6149
Wapello59712
Muscatine55741
Crawford5282
Tama40327
Scott36110
Dubuque34619
Louisa34511
Sioux2830
Pottawattamie2698
Jasper26017
Washington1898
Wright1780
Warren1350
Plymouth1332
Allamakee1204
Story1161
Mahaska9510
Poweshiek908
Henry711
Bremer696
Des Moines651
Boone650
Clinton641
Taylor560
Clarke560
Guthrie513
Cedar481
Benton431
Hamilton430
Webster421
Monroe385
Shelby370
Jones360
Clayton343
Osceola340
Buchanan330
Iowa330
Marion320
Cherokee310
Jefferson300
Cerro Gordo291
Madison292
Lee270
Fayette270
Monona250
Winneshiek240
Lyon240
Davis230
Harrison230
Dickinson210
Sac200
Grundy200
Mills190
Floyd191
Humboldt181
Clay170
Delaware171
Hardin170
Butler171
Lucas170
Emmet160
Hancock160
Appanoose143
Ida140
Page140
Franklin140
Keokuk140
Pocahontas130
Greene130
Howard120
Cass120
Audubon121
Jackson120
Carroll110
Winnebago110
Chickasaw100
Kossuth100
Adair90
Van Buren90
Union90
Montgomery80
Adams70
Palo Alto70
Fremont40
Ringgold40
Mitchell40
Worth30
Calhoun20
Wayne10
Decatur10
Unassigned10
Rochester
Clear
92° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 95°
Mason City
Clear
96° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 96°
Albert Lea
Clear
95° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 96°
Austin
Scattered Clouds
97° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 102°
Charles City
Clear
91° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 92°
Powerful storms and summer-like conditions are coming our way
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Minne "Sno" Da Opens Up

Image

VFW Waits To Reopen Inside

Image

Blackout Tuesday

Image

Sara's Midday Forecast - Tuesday

Image

Pool sales on the rise while pools remain closed

Image

Sara's Daybreak Forecast - Tuesday

Image

Rochester man bringing donations to the Twin Cities.

${item.thumbnail.title}

StormTeam 3: Today's Severe Weather Update

Image

Yoga studio closes space, tries new idea

Image

Forager Brewery welcomes new business

Community Events