To respond to priorities and information requests in subparagraph (A), the Secretary may conduct or support, by grant, contract, or interagency agreement, research, demonstrations, evaluations, technology assessments, or other activities, including the provision of technical assistance, scientific expertise, or methodological assistance.
The Secretary shall establish a process to develop priorities that will guide the research, demonstrations, and evaluation activities undertaken pursuant to this section.
Not later than 6 months after December 8, 2003, the Secretary shall establish an initial list of priorities for research related to health care items and services (including prescription drugs).
The Secretary shall complete the evaluation and synthesis of the initial research required by the priority list developed under paragraph (2)(B) not later than 18 months after the development of such list.
In making use of administrative, clinical, and program data and information developed or collected with respect to the programs established under titles XVIII, XIX, and XXI of the Social Security Act [42 U.S.C. 1395 et seq., 1396 et seq., 1397aa et seq.], for purposes of carrying out the requirements of this section or the activities authorized under title IX of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 299 et seq.), such data and information shall be protected in accordance with the confidentiality requirements of title IX of the Public Health Service Act.
Nothing in this section shall be construed to require or permit the disclosure of data provided to the Secretary that is otherwise protected from disclosure under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act [21 U.S.C. 301 et seq.], section 1905 of title 18, or other applicable law.
The Secretary shall conduct and support evaluations of the activities carried out under this section to determine the extent to which such activities have had an effect on outcomes and utilization of health care items and services.
Research, evaluation, and communication activities performed pursuant to this section shall reflect the principle that clinicians and patients should have the best available evidence upon which to make choices in health care items and services, in providers, and in health care delivery systems, recognizing that patient subpopulations and patient and physician preferences may vary.
Nothing in this section shall be construed to provide the Director with authority to mandate a national standard or require a specific approach to quality measurement and reporting.
The Secretary, acting through the Director, may conduct or support research with respect to improving methods of disseminating information in accordance with subsection (a)(3)(C).
The Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services may not use data obtained in accordance with this section to withhold coverage of a prescription drug.
There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section, $50,000,000 for fiscal year 2004, and such sums as may be necessary for each fiscal year thereafter.