- WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The
U.S. government is making it harder for scientists to speak to their global
colleagues and restricting who can attend an upcoming major AIDS
a congressman charged on Thursday.
- Rep. Henry Waxman said he has a letter showing that the
Health and Human Services Department has imposed new limits on who may
speak to the World Health Organization.
- Under the new policy, WHO must ask HHS for permission
to speak to scientists and must allow HHS to choose who will
- "This policy is unprecedented. For the first time
political appointees will routinely be able to keep the top experts in
their field from responding to WHO requests for guidance on international
health issues," the California Democrat wrote in a letter to HHS
- "This is a raw attempt to exert political control
over scientists and scientific evidence in the area of international
- "Under the new policy the administration will be
able to refuse to provide any experts whenever it wishes to stall
progress on controversial topics."
- An HHS spokesman was not immediately available for
- Waxman also complained that HHS had cut back a list of
scientists planning to attend the International AIDS Society conference
in Bangkok, Thailand, next month. The conference is considered the premiere
meeting for AIDS experts.
- Waxman said that 40 presentations scheduled for the
were withdrawn after HHS decided that only 50 U.S. scientists could attend.
"The scientific community was outraged by this pullback," he
- "I ask you to rescind this ill-advised policy until
it can be adequately reviewed and justified," Waxman wrote of the
restrictions on WHO requests.
- He also urged Thompson to review his decision on the