Well-funded U.S. research labs often break federal laws, risk human health safety, according to audit released Monday
SAN DIEGO (April 4, 2005) – At a news conference held
here Monday, a non-profit, Cincinnati-based taxpayer watchdog group
released an audit which documents that the largest U.S. research
laboratories receive billions of dollars in federal funding – but yet
routinely break federal laws in the spending of it.
The report also suggested that those violations taint
redundant and wasteful research at labs like those in the San Diego
area, jeopardizing the validity of their experiments – and the safety of
the same taxpayers who fund the facilities.
Standing in front of the San Diego Convention Center –
where scientists are meeting Monday at the International Union of
Physiological Sciences conference – SAEN executive director Michael
Budkie listed the “Top 40" U.S. research facilities, including 2 in San
Diego and 7 in California, which receive the most research dollars.
Nationally, Budkie said, more than $12 billion in
federal grants for animal research are sent to U.S. labs, and more than
$1 billion to seven California labs, including $167.5 million to the
University of San Diego and $126.2 million to Scripps Research
Institute. UC San Francisco pocketed $199.5 million and UCLA $187.5
Despite those generous monies, UCSF, the big
California grant winner, committed at least 51 violations of federal law
– everything from dirty cages to poor veterinary care – over a 1-year
span. Another “top 10" law breakers include the prestigious Johns
Hopkins University (sixth, with 31 violations). Other “top 25" labs that
routinely break federal law include Northwestern, Yale, Harvard,
Princeton and Duke.
"It's shocking that labs across the nation which
receive billions in federal tax dollars are allowed to continually break
federal law with impunity,” said Budkie, adding that his audit indicates
that “these research facilities can’t even keep the cages clean, and
that they continually break the law.”