Yesterday I raised the question of whether Mark Lovell (of ImPACT, NFL, WWE, UPMC, etc., etc., etc.) had fully and ethically disclosed the glaring commercial conflicts of interest embedded in at least four grants in the early part of the decade, totaling more than $2 million, from the National Institutes of Health. These grants supported research for the controversial “concussion management software” that has gone on to work so beautifully to protect American youth athletes, except of course when it hasn’t.
In the next post I’ll update the full story. And in my column for Beyond Chron tomorrow, I’ll chew the fat even more.
But first let’s pause to flag NIH for two penalties: false start and unsportsmanlike use of red tape.
Release of the conflict-of-interest disclosures Lovell made to his patron University of Pittsburgh Medical Center – as well as of how UPMC processed that information and what it decided to report about it to NIH – is in the control of UPMC. That’s how the Byzantine federal regulations work.
There is no controversy, however, over whether Lovell’s grant applications themselves are public records. They are, and yesterday a spokesperson for the NIH Office of Extramural Research offered to help gather them for me. This morning she emailed me for my mailing address. Then an hour later she wrote back again to say, lamely, that the NIH Freedom of Information Act coordinator had ruled that I should submit a request for the grant documents to “the NIH institute that funded them, which looks like NICHD [the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development].”
The spokesperson later added, faux helpfully, “You may also send your request to the general FOIA mailbox, and they will get it to the right place.”