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NIH Safety Officer Reinstated

December 23, 2005

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Reversing course, the government’s premier health research agency has reinstated a medical safety expert who was fired after raising allegations of scientific misconduct and sexual harassment in federal AIDS research, his lawyer said Friday.

The National Institutes of Health’s reinstatement of Dr. Jonathan Fishbein settles a two-year battle that prompted both congressional and federal investigations. It also drew attention to an entire class of researchers and safety experts the government initially claimed didn’t deserve whistleblower protections.

Fishbein alleged he was fired for raising safety concerns in government AIDS research. NIH said he was fired for poor performance even though he had been recommended for a cash performance bonus just weeks before he was notified of his termination.

He was one of a few NIH whistleblowers whose plight was highlighted in Associated Press stories over the last year examining allegations of safety problems with federal AIDS research in the United States and Africa, sexual harassment of female NIH workers and the use of foster children to test AIDS drugs.

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