As of this month, the nation’s highest-ranking committee advising the government on protections for research participants was expected to be down to just four members, as the terms of four expired from April to June. It also has lacked a patient advocate for a year, as lung cancer survivor Janet Freeman-Daily’s term expired in June 2022, and she has not been replaced.
The Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Human Research Protections (SACHRP) is scheduled to meet next month to continue work on recommendations that respond to a Government Accountability Office report critical of HHS’ ability to measure the quality and effectiveness of institutional review boards. Although it can meet with four members, SACHRP cannot vote or take any other official action.
SACHRP technically reports to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra but is run by the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP), which itself has been lacking a permanent director since Jerry Menikoff retired in December. An HHS spokesperson told RRC on May 19 that “new members are currently being processed” but did not say whether appointments would be made in time for SACHRP’s July 19-20 meeting, which is scheduled to be held virtually. The agency also had no information on the search for Menikoff’s successor.