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Federalism

Food and Drug Law

Washington and Lee University School of Law

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Constitutional Confidentiality, Natalie Ram, Jorge L. Contreras, Laura M. Beskow, Leslie E. Wolf Oct 2023

Constitutional Confidentiality, Natalie Ram, Jorge L. Contreras, Laura M. Beskow, Leslie E. Wolf

Washington and Lee Law Review

Federal Certificates of Confidentiality (“Certificates”) protect sensitive information about human research subjects from disclosure and use in judicial, administrative, and legislative proceedings at both the state and federal levels. When they were first authorized by Congress in the 1970s, Certificates covered sensitive information collected in research about drug addiction use. Today, however, they extend to virtually all personal information gathered by biomedical research studies. The broad reach of Certificates, coupled with their power to override state subpoenas and warrants issued in the context of law enforcement, abortion regulation, and other police powers typically under state control, beg the question whether …