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  June 20,  2005
Volume 83, Number 25
p. 14


  House May Ask NIH To Limit PubChem
House Appropriations subcommittee addresses NIH's chemical database

A house appropriations subcommittee has added language aimed at the National Institutes of Health's PubChem chemical structure database to a report accompanying the Labor, Health & Human Services (HHS) & Education appropriations bill.

PubChem--part of the agency's Roadmap for Medical Research--has raised concern among officials at the American Chemical Society, who argue that the new database replicates the society's existing Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry (C&EN, June 13, page 23). ACS, which publishes C&EN, is asking NIH to limit the scope of PubChem to include only compounds derived from research associated with the NIH Roadmap.

The subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Ralph Regula (R-Ohio), added the language on how NIH should proceed with PubChem after receiving input from ACS as well as PubChem supporters. The full Appropriations Committee was marking up the HHS-related appropriations bill as C&EN went to press.

According to draft language, NIH is asked to reevaluate its database: "The committee is concerned that NIH is replicating scientific information services that already exist in the private sector. In order to properly focus PubChem, the committee urges NIH to work with private-sector providers to avoid unnecessary duplication and competition with private-sector chemical databases."

In a statement, ACS noted that it is pleased with the report language. ACS also recognized recent interactions with NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni. "We appreciate Dr. Zerhouni's personal engagement in this issue and will continue to work diligently with NIH toward a collaborative model and solution that will best serve the scientific community."

For its part, NIH said in a statement that it appreciates the House support of its "ongoing effort to resolve concerns about any potential impact on privately run chemical databases," adding that "NIH continues to work with ACS and is optimistic that we can move forward together to resolve any issues."

  Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
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