MEDICAL PRIVACY: Right to Sue Holds Things Up
The House Commerce health and environment subcommittee heard testimony yesterday from the Clinton administration on whether those whose medical privacy is violated -- under standards set by pending laws -- should be allowed to sue for damages. Peggy Hamburg, HHS assistant secretary for planning and evaluation, said, "In addition to punishing the perpetrators, we must give redress to the victims. We believe that any individual whose privacy rights have been violated -- whether those rights were violated negligently or knowingly -- should be permitted to bring a legal action for actual damages and equitable relief." CongressDaily reports that lawmakers are also struggling with the extent to which they should regulate private research not covered by the government's "common rule." A statement from the Biotechnology Industry Organization said both a previous bill by Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) and a compromise bill introduced this week by Markey, Rep. Gary Condit (D-CA) and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) "imposes a standard more restrictive than what is currently required for federally funded research." Both bills "will significantly impede medical research by requiring that all research be monitored by an external entity," according to the group. Reps. Bill Thomas (R-CA) and Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) are working on yet another bill, which could be ready by the week after next (Rovner, 5/27).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.