Research and investigations generally
Authority of Secretary
The Secretary shall conduct in the Service, and encourage, cooperate with, and render assistance to other appropriate public authorities, scientific institutions, and scientists in the conduct of, and promote the coordination of, research, investigations, experiments, demonstrations, and studies relating to the causes, diagnosis, treatment, control, and prevention of physical and mental diseases and impairments of man, including water purification, sewage treatment, and pollution of lakes and streams. In carrying out the foregoing the Secretary is authorized to—
(1) collect and make available through publications and other appropriate means, information as to, and the practical application of, such research and other activities;
(2) make available research facilities of the Service to appropriate public authorities, and to health officials and scientists engaged in special study;
(3) make grants-in-aid to universities, hospitals, laboratories, and other public or private institutions, and to individuals for such research projects as are recommended by the advisory council to the entity of the Department supporting such projects and make, upon recommendation of the advisory council to the appropriate entity of the Department, grants-in-aid to public or nonprofit universities, hospitals, laboratories, and other institutions for the general support of their research;
(4) secure from time to time and for such periods as he deems advisable, the assistance and advice of experts, scholars, and consultants from the United States or abroad;
(5) for purposes of study, admit and treat at institutions, hospitals, and stations of the Service, persons not otherwise eligible for such treatment;
(6) make available, to health officials, scientists, and appropriate public and other nonprofit institutions and organizations, technical advice and assistance on the application of statistical methods to experiments, studies, and surveys in health and medical fields;
(7) enter into contracts, including contracts for research in accordance with and subject to the provisions of law applicable to contracts entered into by the military departments under sections 2353 and 2354 of title 10, except that determination, approval, and certification required thereby shall be by the Secretary of Health and Human Services; and
(8) adopt, upon recommendations of the advisory councils to the appropriate entities of the Department or, with respect to mental health, the National Advisory Mental Health Council, such additional means as the Secretary considers necessary or appropriate to carry out the purposes of this section.
Testing for carcinogenicity, teratogenicity, mutagenicity, and other harmful biological effects; consultation
(1) The Secretary shall conduct and may support through grants and contracts studies and testing of substances for carcinogenicity, teratogenicity, mutagenicity, and other harmful biological effects. In carrying out this paragraph, the Secretary shall consult with entities of the Federal Government, outside of the Department of Health and Human Services, engaged in comparable activities. The Secretary, upon request of such an entity and under appropriate arrangements for the payment of expenses, may conduct for such entity studies and testing of substances for carcinogenicity, teratogenicity, mutagenicity, and other harmful biological effects.
(A) The Secretary shall establish a comprehensive program of research into the biological effects of low-level ionizing radiation under which program the Secretary shall conduct such research and may support such research by others through grants and contracts.
(B) The Secretary shall conduct a comprehensive review of Federal programs of research on the biological effects of ionizing radiation.
(3) The Secretary shall conduct and may support through grants and contracts research and studies on human nutrition, with particular emphasis on the role of nutrition in the prevention and treatment of disease and on the maintenance and promotion of health, and programs for the dissemination of information respecting human nutrition to health professionals and the public. In carrying out activities under this paragraph, the Secretary shall provide for the coordination of such of these activities as are performed by the different divisions within the Department of Health and Human Services and shall consult with entities of the Federal Government, outside of the Department of Health and Human Services, engaged in comparable activities. The Secretary, upon request of such an entity and under appropriate arrangements for the payment of expenses, may conduct and support such activities for such entity.
The Secretary shall publish a biennial report which contains—
(A) a list of all substances (i) which either are known to be carcinogens or may reasonably be anticipated to be carcinogens and (ii) to which a significant number of persons residing in the United States are exposed;
(B) information concerning the nature of such exposure and the estimated number of persons exposed to such substances;
(C) a statement identifying (i) each substance contained in the list under subparagraph (A) for which no effluent, ambient, or exposure standard has been established by a Federal agency, and (ii) for each effluent, ambient, or exposure standard established by a Federal agency with respect to a substance contained in the list under subparagraph (A), the extent to which, on the basis of available medical, scientific, or other data, such standard, and the implementation of such standard by the agency, decreases the risk to public health from exposure to the substance; and
a description of (i) each request received during the year involved—(I) from a Federal agency outside the Department of Health and Human Services for the Secretary, or(II) from an entity within the Department of Health and Human Services to any other entity within the Department,
to conduct research into, or testing for, the carcinogenicity of substances or to provide information described in clause (ii) of subparagraph (C), and (ii) how the Secretary and each such other entity, respectively, have responded to each such request.
(5) The authority of the Secretary to enter into any contract for the conduct of any study, testing, program, research, or review, or assessment under this subsection shall be effective for any fiscal year only to such extent or in such amounts as are provided in advance in appropriation Acts.
Diseases not significantly occurring in United States
The Secretary may conduct biomedical research, directly or through grants or contracts, for the identification, control, treatment, and prevention of diseases (including tropical diseases) which do not occur to a significant extent in the United States.
Protection of privacy of individuals who are research subjects
If a person is engaged in biomedical, behavioral, clinical, or other research, in which identifiable, sensitive information is collected (including research on mental health and research on the use and effect of alcohol and other psychoactive drugs), the Secretary, in coordination with other agencies, as applicable—
(i) shall issue to such person a certificate of confidentiality to protect the privacy of individuals who are the subjects of such research if the research is funded wholly or in part by the Federal Government; and
(ii) may, upon application by a person engaged in research, issue to such person a certificate of confidentiality to protect the privacy of such individuals if the research is not so funded.
(B) Except as provided in subparagraph (C), any person to whom a certificate is issued under subparagraph (A) to protect the privacy of individuals described in such subparagraph shall not disclose or provide to any other person not connected with the research the name of such an individual or any information, document, or biospecimen that contains identifiable, sensitive information about such an individual and that was created or compiled for purposes of the research.
The disclosure prohibition in subparagraph (B) shall not apply to disclosure or use that is—
(i) required by Federal, State, or local laws, excluding instances described in subparagraph (D);
(ii) necessary for the medical treatment of the individual to whom the information, document, or biospecimen pertains and made with the consent of such individual;
(iii) made with the consent of the individual to whom the information, document, or biospecimen pertains; or
(iv) made for the purposes of other scientific research that is in compliance with applicable Federal regulations governing the protection of human subjects in research.
(D) Any person to whom a certificate is issued under subparagraph (A) to protect the privacy of an individual described in such subparagraph shall not, in any Federal, State, or local civil, criminal, administrative, legislative, or other proceeding, disclose or provide the name of such individual or any such information, document, or biospecimen that contains identifiable, sensitive information about the individual and that was created or compiled for purposes of the research, except in the circumstance described in subparagraph (C)(iii).
(E) Identifiable, sensitive information protected under subparagraph (A), and all copies thereof, shall be immune from the legal process, and shall not, without the consent of the individual to whom the information pertains, be admissible as evidence or used for any purpose in any action, suit, or other judicial, legislative, or administrative proceeding.
(F) Identifiable, sensitive information collected by a person to whom a certificate has been issued under subparagraph (A), and all copies thereof, shall be subject to the protections afforded by this section for perpetuity.
(G) The Secretary shall take steps to minimize the burden to researchers, streamline the process, and reduce the time it takes to comply with the requirements of this subsection.
(2) The Secretary shall coordinate with the heads of other applicable Federal agencies to ensure that such departments have policies in place with respect to the issuance of a certificate of confidentiality pursuant to paragraph (1) and other requirements of this subsection.
(3) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to limit the access of an individual who is a subject of research to information about himself or herself collected during such individual’s participation in the research.
For purposes of this subsection, the term “identifiable, sensitive information” means information that is about an individual and that is gathered or used during the course of research described in paragraph (1)(A) and—
(A) through which an individual is identified; or
(B) for which there is at least a very small risk, as determined by current scientific practices or statistical methods, that some combination of the information, a request for the information, and other available data sources could be used to deduce the identity of an individual.
Preterm labor and delivery and infant mortality
The Secretary, acting through the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, shall expand, intensify, and coordinate the activities of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with respect to preterm labor and delivery and infant mortality.
Exemption of certain biomedical information from disclosure
The Secretary may exempt from disclosure under section 552(b)(3) of title 5 biomedical information that is about an individual and that is gathered or used during the course of biomedical research if—
(A) an individual is identified; or
(B) there is at least a very small risk, as determined by current scientific practices or statistical methods, that some combination of the information, the request, and other available data sources could be used to deduce the identity of an individual.
(A) Each determination of the Secretary under paragraph (1) to exempt information from disclosure shall be made in writing and accompanied by a statement of the basis for the determination.
(B) Each such determination and statement of basis shall be available to the public, upon request, through the Office of the Chief FOIA Officer of the Department of Health and Human Services.
(3) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to limit a research participant’s access to information about such participant collected during the participant’s participation in the research.
Inapplicability of Federal information policy
Subchapter I of chapter 35 of title 44 shall not apply to the voluntary collection of information during the conduct of research by the National Institutes of Health.
Availability of substances and living organisms for biomedical and behavioral research
(1) The Secretary may make available to individuals and entities, for biomedical and behavioral research, substances and living organisms. Such substances and organisms shall be made available under such terms and conditions (including payment for them) as the Secretary determines appropriate.
(2) Where research substances and living organisms are made available under paragraph (1) through contractors, the Secretary may direct such contractors to collect payments on behalf of the Secretary for the costs incurred to make available such substances and organisms and to forward amounts so collected to the Secretary, in the time and manner specified by the Secretary.
(3) Amounts collected under paragraph (2) shall be credited to the appropriations accounts that incurred the costs to make available the research substances and living organisms involved, and shall remain available until expended for carrying out activities under such accounts.
(July 1, 1944, ch. 373, title III, § 301, 58 Stat. 691; July 3, 1946, ch. 538, § 7(a), (b), 60 Stat. 423; June 16, 1948, ch. 481, § 4(e), (f), 62 Stat. 467; June 24, 1948, ch. 621, § 4(e), (f), 62 Stat. 601; June 25, 1948, ch. 654, § 1, 62 Stat. 1017; July 3, 1956, ch. 510, § 4, 70 Stat. 490; Pub. L. 86–798, Sept. 15, 1960, 74 Stat. 1053; Pub. L. 87–838, § 2, Oct. 17, 1962, 76 Stat. 1073; Pub. L. 89–115, § 3, Aug. 9, 1965, 79 Stat. 448; Pub. L. 90–174, § 9, Dec. 5, 1967, 81 Stat. 540; Pub. L. 91–513, title I, § 3(a), Oct. 27, 1970, 84 Stat. 1241; Pub. L. 91–515, title II, § 292, Oct. 30, 1970, 84 Stat. 1308; Pub. L. 92–218, § 6(a)(2), Dec. 23, 1971, 85 Stat. 785; Pub. L. 92–423, § 7(b), Sept. 19, 1972, 86 Stat. 687; Pub. L. 93–282, title I, § 122(b), May 14, 1974, 88 Stat. 132; Pub. L. 93–348, title I, § 104(a)(1), July 12, 1974, 88 Stat. 346; Pub. L. 93–352, title I, § 111, July 23, 1974, 88 Stat. 360; Pub. L. 94–278, title I, § 111, Apr. 22, 1976, 90 Stat. 405; Pub. L. 95–622, title II, §§ 261, 262, Nov. 9, 1978, 92 Stat. 3434; Pub. L. 96–88, title V, § 509(b), Oct. 17, 1979, 93 Stat. 695; Pub. L. 99–158, § 3(a)(5), Nov. 20, 1985, 99 Stat. 879; Pub. L. 99–570, title IV, § 4021(b)(2), Oct. 27, 1986, 100 Stat. 3207–124; Pub. L. 99–660, title I, § 104, Nov. 14, 1986, 100 Stat. 3751;