Public Policy

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Guided by its Public Policy Committee, PRIM&R provides expert guidance and input on emerging policy issues. Browse PRIM&R's public policy work below or use the dropdown to sort by year.

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Comments to NIH on Protecting Privacy When Sharing Human Research Participant Data

Agency: National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Submitted: June 20, 2022

PRIM&R submitted comments on the Draft Supplemental Information to the NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing: Protecting Privacy When Sharing Human Research Participant Data. In its comments, PRIM&R noted that vague and perfunctory language of the diminishes its usefulness to the research. Thus, PRIM&R recommended that NIH consider re-drafting the guidance by more clearly elaborating on the sections on best practices and points to consider, so that NIH-funded researchers and institutions have a clear understanding of how to meet the NIH standards for protecting the privacy of research participants while following the agency’s DMS Policy. 

Download a PDF of PRIM&R's full comments.

PRIM&R Comments on FDA Draft Guidance on Diversity Plans

Agency: Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Submitted: June 6, 2022

PRIM&R submitted comments to the FDA in response to their "Diversity Plans to Improve Enrollment of Participants from Underrepresented Racial and Ethnic Populations in Clinical Trials." PRIM&R believes the FDA’s draft guidance represents a significant and welcome step forward in enhancing diversity in clinical trial participation and we applaud the agency’s deliberate efforts to assist industry in advancing this important societal goal by recommending concrete strategies. PRIM&R also provided additional recommendations that we believe will not only enhance diversity in clinical trial participation but will also bolster public trust and confidence in scientific research.

Download a PDF of PRIM&R's full comments.

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Letter to OSTP endorsing recommendation to reinstate a Presidential Commission on Bioethics

Agency: White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
Submitted: March 30, 2022

PRIM&R sent a letter to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy endorsing a recommendation from the Presidents of the National Academies of Science and Medicine to reinstate a Presidential Commission on Bioethics. PRIM&R noted that wide-ranging advances in science and medicine and in the ubiquitous use of digital technologies in medicine, research, as well as in everyday life had transformed the research landscape. In addition, the emergence and widespread adoption of these advances and technologies have far outpaced societal deliberations on their ethical dimensions and implications – a task that warranted the sustained attention of an entity with the stature a Presidential commission.

Download a PDF of the full letter.

PRIM&R Asks OSTP for Extension of Deadline to Comment on the Development of a Federal Scientific Integrity Policy Framework

Agency: White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
Submitted: March 8, 2022

On March 3, 2022, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) published a Request for Information on the Development of a Federal Scientific Integrity Policy Framework. Noting the complexity of the four substantive areas in which OSTP is seeking input, PRIM&R submitted a request to OSTP asking that the 30-day deadline for comments be extended to at least another 60 days.

Download a PDF of the PRIM&R request here.

Response to NIH RFI on Genomic Data Sharing Policy

Agency: NIH Office of Science Policy 
Submitted: February 3, 2022 

In November 2021, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Science Policy (OSP) published a Request for Information (RFI) concerning their Genomic Data Sharing Policy. NIH is seeking public input on potential updates to the original Policy, issued in 2014. Last week, PRIM&R submitted comments welcoming revisions to the policy in the face of evolving technologies and encouraging NIH enhance its public engagement efforts.

In our comments, PRIM&R urged NIH to:

  1. Embrace the revision of the original Genomic Data Sharing Policy as an opportunity to undertake a more substantive and meaningful process of public engagement around genomic data sharing,
  2. Review and assess the full range of safeguards available for genomic data sharing beyond deidentification of data, which can no longer carry the entire burden ofprotection, and
  3. Seriously consider methods and policies for sanctioning parties who misuse the data to which they have been granted access.
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Comments for NIH RFI on Consent Language for Future Data and Biospecimen Use

Agency: NIH Office of Science Policy 
Submitted: September 8, 2021 

PRIM&R submitted comments to the National Institutes of Health Office of Science Policy in response to their Request for Information: Developing Consent Language for Future Use of Data and Biospecimens, published July 1, 2021. The document provides sample consent language to include in research where data and biospecimen sharing might occur, which addresses issues including the voluntariness of participating in data sharing, participant discontinuation or withdrawal, risk/benefit ratios of participation, and others. PRIM&R believes that the resource would be more useful to relevant stakeholders if it was clearer in its scope and force, and if it provided additional language explaining the broad context for data sharing.

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Letter to ILAR regarding Guide revisions

Agency: National Academies, Institute for Laboratory Animal Research  
Submitted: June 21, 2021 

PRIM&R submitted a letter to the Institute for Laboratory Animal Research at the National Academies in support of a group of colleague organizations who requested that the ninth revisions to the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals be made in a collaborative, inclusive manner and with consideration to feedback from the community of animal care institutions and professionals who rely on the Guide in their work. 

Download a PDF of the full letter.

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Objections to HHS Proposal for Retrospective Review

Agency: US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
Submitted: December 3, 2020

PRIM&R responded to a notice of proposed rulemaking, Securing Updated and Necessary Statutory Evaluations Timely, that mandates regular retrospective review by HHS of its regulations. Though retrospective review is a worthy goal, the plan laid out by HHS in this proposed rule is an overly blunt and rigid tool for a process that demands nuance and flexibility.

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PRIM&R Supports Proposed Changes to AWA Facility Registration Rules

Agency: USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
Submitted: November 13, 2020

PRIM&R submitted comments in support of the changes to AWA Facility Registration Rules proposed by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, agreeing that the changes would reduce duplicative requirements and administrative burden.

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Serious Concerns About EPA Transparency Supplement

Agency: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Submitted: May 15, 2020

PRIM&R responded to the EPA supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking adding to the previously issued Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science rule, joining other science and health groups in voicing serious concern about the supplement, which expands the scope of the original rule.

 

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NIH-Wide Strategic Plan For FYs 2021-2025

Agency: National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Submitted: March 30, 2020

PRIM&R responded to the NIH Framework for the NIH-Wide Strategic Plan for FYs 2021-2025 expressing support for the breadth and aims of the framework and suggesting ways that NIH can refine, including the clarification of language around “stewardship,” explicit recognition of the value of participant-submitted data, acknowledgment of rigor and reproducibility efforts in research involving animals, and a broad vision for the range of stakeholders included in the “[promotion] of collaborative science.”

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Desirable Characteristics of Data Repositories.

Agency: White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)
Submitted: March 2, 2020

PRIM&R responded to OSTP's Draft Desirable Characteristics of Repositories for Managing and Sharing Data Resulting From Federally Funded Research welcoming this step toward harmonizing policies and enhancing responsible research and presenting some recommendations to enhance the outlined desirable characteristics of data repositories.

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Ensuring Public Access to Government Funded/Conducted Research

Agency: National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Submitted: January 10, 2020

PRIM&R responded to the NIH "Draft NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing and Supplement Draft Guidance" applauding the NIH for proactively taking steps to accelerate data sharing efforts, while also offering a few constructive suggestions centered primarily around privacy, informed consent, and oversight funding issues.

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Considerations for Clinical Studies

Agency: Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Submitted: September 16, 2019

PRIM&R responded to the FDA revised “E8 (R1) General Considerations for Clinical Studies” guideline approving of the the  FDA's work with the International Conference of Harmonization (ICH) to modernize their guidelines, but also suggesting that the document could benefit from a better discussion of the broad ethical principles that underlie many of the human subject protections the document details.

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Enhancing the Diversity of Clinical Trial Populations

Agency: Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Submitted: July 30, 2019

PRIM&R responded to the FDA draft guidance on "Enhancing the Diversity of Clinical Trial Populations-Eligibility Criteria, Enrollment Practices, and Trial Designs," thanking the FDA for issuing the draft guidance as part of their recent significant efforts to enhance diversity in clinical trial participation, but calling for more robust discussion of the ethics of enhancing clinical trial diversity and broad recommendation for sponsors to plan for the full range of risks historically underrepresented groups might face.

 

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Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning-Based Software as a Medical Device

Agency: Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Submitted: June 3, 2019

PRIM&R responded to the FDA Discussion Paper: "Proposed Regulatory Framework for Modifications to Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML)-Based Software as a Medical Device (SaMD),” expressing appreciation to the FDA for rethinking its regulatory framework for devices as the use of adaptive AI/ML-based technologies become increasingly prevalent and asking the FDA to consider the ethical impact of generating training data and optimizing algorithmic models through data that comes from interactions with human beings in real time.

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Cancer Clinical Trial Eligibility Criteria and Pediatric Patients

Agency: Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Submitted: May 13, 2019

PRIM&R responded to FDA draft guidance, "Cancer Clinical Trial Eligibility Criteria: Minimum Age for Pediatric Patients, applauding the FDA for their ongoing work to enhance clinical trial access for younger patients and for the level of detail in the guidance and suggesting that the FDA clarify what is meant by “infeasible" and recommending that the agency encourage sponsors to describe in protocols how the pediatric data obtained will be used to support pediatric labeling.

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Reducing Administrative Burden

Agency: Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW), National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Submitted: February 15, 2019

PRIM&R responded to OLAW's "RFI: Input on Draft Report from Working Group on Reducing Administrative Burden to Researchers for Animal Care and Use in Research" welcoming changes from an earlier RFI and asking the agencies to implement a process for keeping the research oversight community informed and involved in determining the final product.

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Modifying HIPAA Rules to Improve Care

Agency: Office for Civil Rights (OCR), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
Submitted: February 11, 2019

PRIM&R responded to the OCR "Request for Information on Modifying HIPAA Rules to Improve Coordinated Care" suggesting that as the OCR evaluates how to modify the HIPAA Rules to reduce regulatory burdens and facilitate more efficient care coordination, they could also conduct a parallel evaluation of the HIPAA Rules as they are applied to research.

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IRB Waiver or Alteration of Consent

Agency: Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Submitted: February 5, 2019

PRIM&R responded to the FDA proposed rule "Institutional Review Board Waiver or Alteration of Informed Consent for Minimal Risk Clinical Investigations" applauding the FDA for taking steps to harmonize their human subject regulations with the Common Rule, but raising two areas of consideration for the FDA.

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The Next Phase of Human Gene-Therapy Oversight

Publication: New England Journal of Medicine
Published: January 24, 2019

PRIM&R responded to an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, stressing the importance of the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC) in fostering public discussion about whether new technologies should be specially regulated, or even initiated. 

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Data Management and Sharing Policy

Agency: National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Submitted: December 3, 2018

PRIM&R responded to the NIH Request for Information on "Proposed Provisions for a Draft Data Management and Sharing Policy for NIH Funded or Supported Research," expressing support for data sharing initiativess, but also pointing to data sharing risks and seeking clarification and further guidance from the agency. 

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Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules

Agency: National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Submitted: October 16, 2018

PRIM&R responded to an NIH proposal to amend its "Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules," agreeing with the overall need to reduce duplicative oversight, but expressing serious concerns about scaling back the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC).

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Including Pregnant Women in Clinical Trials

Agency: Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Submitted: June 8, 2018

PRIM&R responded to FDA draft guidance on “Pregnant Women: Scientific and Ethical Considerations for Inclusion in Clinical Trials,” applauding the FDA for taking this important step to fill regulatory gaps around the inclusion of pregnant women in FDA-regulated clinical trials so they may share the benefits of clinical trials (namely, access to safe and effective medication).

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Coordination of Regulations as Required by 21st Century Cures Act

Agencies: National Institutes of Health (NIH), US Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Submitted: May 23, 2018

PRIM&R responded to the NIH, USDA, and FDA request for comments "seeking information to improve the coordination of regulations and policies with respect to research with laboratory animals as required by the 21st Century Cures Act, Section 2034(d)," advocating that any new regulatory policy better support the work of IACUCs and the research oversight community and reduce bureaucratically intensive regulations that do not necessarily translate to better animal welfare.

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New Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Delaying Compliance Date for the "Common Rule"

Agency: Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
Submitted: May 14, 2018

PRIM&R responded to the HHS (16 other federal agencies) new Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) proposing to delay the general compliance date for the "Common Rule" to January 21, 2019, endorsing the proposal predicated on an understanding that during the delay the agencies produce much-needed guidance and make it available to the regulated community in advance of the compliance date.

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Congress Should Support the Lab Animal Oversight Community

Publication: The Hill
Published: April 13, 2018 

In an opinion article for The Hill, PRIM&R’s Executive Director, Elisa A. Hurley and PRIM&R Board members, F. Claire Hankenson and David H. Strauss, take the position that Congress should support the lab animal oversight community given its vital role in ensuring the ethical conduct of research with animals.

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Simplifying Lab Animal Regulations Without Weakening Welfare Standards

Publication: STAT
Published: April 4, 2018

PRIM&R's Executive Director, Elisa A. Hurley, PhD, argues in a STAT First Opinion article that as the government works to review and revise laboratory animal research policies and regulations, as mandated by the 21st Century Cures Act, federal decision-makers should not let legitimate and important concerns about administrative burdens obscure the crucial role that regulations can play in promoting the ethical and humane use of lab research animals.

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Research Cuts Threaten Public Trust

Publication: Science
Published: June 30, 2017

David H. Strauss, Darby G. Hull, and Elisa A. Hurley (on behalf of PRIM&R's Public Policy Committee) responded in a letter to the editor to a Science article by Jocelyn Kaiser detailing how President Trump’s budget proposes to cut the National Institutes of Health budget by $4.6 billion by substantially reducing payments for indirect costs, pointing out that such indirect cost payments cover processes that serve to protect the safety and rights of those who participate in research.

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Including Pediatric and Elderly Populations in Clinical Research

Agency: National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Submitted: June 30, 2017

PRIM&R responded to the NIH "Request for Information (RFI): Invitation to Comment on Inclusion in Clinical Research Across the Lifespan" endorsing the NIH’s efforts to promote research involving pediatric and elderly populations, but emphasizing and providing examples of the ethical complexities that must be considered when including such groups in research.

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