Back story here. And here.
Senior researcher Pearson Sunderland working for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) was charged yesterday with allegations of violating government principles by simultaneously working for a private drug firm without prior approval.
He is alleged to have been paid $250,000 plus traveling compensation for Pfizer over the period of 1997-2004.
His trial has sparked off major investigations in the NIH following which 44 other research scientists have been found to engage in research assignments outside the NIH, directly in line with their government duties.
Another violation that Sunderland committed was the transfer of hundreds of government owned tissue samples to Pfizer, though NIH has not charged him for this offense.
The samples were of human spinal-tap which are believed to contain genetic clues toward the development of a drug by Pfizer to treat Alzheimer's disease.
For the charges filed against him – termed "criminal information" indicating a potential plea – Sunderland faces up to a year in prison and $100,000 as fine.