The Associated Press
Nearly 40 percent of the scientists conducting hands-on research at the National Institutes of Health say they are looking for other jobs or are considering doing so.
They want to escape new ethics rules that have curtailed their opportunity to earn outside income.
Most scientists say the ethics crackdown is too severe, and nearly three-quarters of them believe it will hinder the government's ability to attract and keep medical researchers, according to a survey commissioned by the government's premier medical research agency.
The tightened rules were put in place last year after NIH found dozens of scientists had run afoul of existing restrictions on private consulting deals that had enriched them with money from drug and biotechnology companies.
Outside income from such companies is now banned.
NIH director Elias Zerhouni, in a letter Thursday to the staff, said the survey "does suggest concerns about the impact of the regulations on recruitment and retention."
But he added, "At this time we do not anticipate revisions in the regulations."