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Jul 07, 2020

Meeting of the Research, Development, and Regulatory Roundtable (R3)

12:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Location: Virtual

Discussion topics: I) Legal and Regulatory Issues Related to COVID-19 in Human Subjects Research, II) Foreign Influence in Clinical Research, and III) Impact of Fraud and Abuse Laws on Clinical Research

1. Foreign Influence in Clinical Research

The first part of the meeting will address the ongoing National Institutes of Health (NIH) and U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) investigations into foreign influence in American research. The NIH and DoD investigations have focused on scientists in the United States who have received and not properly disclosed foreign appointments and remuneration. The NIH has named 180 scientists at 71 institutions as targets of investigation and asked their respective institutions to investigate them. The government appears concerned that researchers who receive federal funding have failed to disclose foreign financial interests and time commitments, thus misleading the U.S. government when it evaluates research awards, thus harming the federal fisc and the American research enterprise. In addition, the U.S. government fears that foreign influence on scientific research is allowing the transfer of intellectual property to foreign countries without being subject to export regulations set forth by the U.S. Department of Commerce. While the investigations have to date primarily affected academic organizations, their impact may well spread to industry as academic investigators who conduct research for industry sponsors come under investigation and the scope of the government’s investigation widens.

2. Impact of Fraud and Abuse Laws on Clinical Research

The second part of the meeting will address the effect on clinical research of fraud and abuse laws, including the Anti-Kickback Statute and the Beneficiary Inducement provisions of the Civil Monetary Penalty Law, as well as their state law counterparts. Briefly stated, fraud and abuse laws place limitations on remuneration provided to health care providers and patients to prevent third-party payors of healthcare services from paying for medically unnecessary or excessive services and to prevent patients from being induced to select a particular healthcare provider. While these laws are not explicitly directed towards the research environment, they have major implications for clinical research conducted in the United States, affecting practices ranging from research sponsors paying for copayments or deductibles associated with standard of care services required under a clinical trial protocol, to payments from life sciences companies to physicians to collect data for registry studies, to the provision of “smart devices” to patients as part of a research study.  We will discuss these issues in detail, including a discussion of recent U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General advisory opinions and state laws in this area.

3. Legal and Regulatory Issues Related to COVID-19 in Human Subjects Research

The third part of the July 7th meeting will briefly overview legal and regulatory issues that have arisen in clinical research as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.