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Press Releases

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 million.

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.”


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